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ICANN Opens Public Comment for Draft Sections of Next Round Applicant Guidebook

1 February 2024

I am pleased to announce the publication of the first sections of the draft Applicant Guidebook (AGB) for the New gTLD Program: Next Round, which are now open for Public Comment. This is the first in a series of Public Comment proceedings that will gather input from the ICANN community on proposed language for the guidebook, which describes the requirements of the application and evaluation processes for new generic top-level domains. This is an important milestone in the effort to implement the New gTLD Program.

These sections will be published with this Public Comment proceeding:

  • Predictability Framework (based on Topic 2 of the Final Report)
  • Code of Conduct and Conflict of Interest Guidelines (Topic 8)
  • Conflicts of Interest Process for Suppliers and Subcontractors (Topic 8)
  • Applicant Freedom of Expression (Topic 10)
  • Universal Acceptance (Topic 11)
  • Reserved and Blocked Names (Topic 21)
  • Geographic Names (based on Work Track 5 Final Report to the New gTLD Subsequent Procedures Policy Development Process Working Group)

This initial Public Comment on the AGB opens 1 February 2024 and will close on 19 March 2024, allowing for seven additional days beyond the typical length of a comment period to account for ICANN79. In line with guidance issued by the SubPro Implementation Review Team (IRT), additional extensions will not be provided in order to support the overall timeline to complete the AGB. Subsequent Public Comment periods over the next year will give the community more opportunities to provide input as the AGB is being developed. Additionally, the AGB is expected to go out for Public Comment in its entirety in Q2 2025 and, as detailed in the implementation plan, the application submission period for the Next Round is scheduled to open in Q2 2026.

As described in the implementation plan, several dependencies and milestones must be met over the next few years to meet this goal. ICANN appreciates the work of the IRT in reaching this milestone and looks forward to the team's continued work on this important project.

What is Public Comment?

Public Comment is an essential transparency and accountability tool for ICANN and a vital part of our multistakeholder model. It gives the community, Internet stakeholders, and the public an opportunity to provide input on our work. Stakeholders provide opinions and recommendations, which are public and archived. The ICANN organization then consolidates the submissions and identifies common themes in a summary report.

This process ensures that diverse viewpoints and expertise are involved in the development of this vital content. The Public Comment periods related to the AGB are critical to ensuring the application and evaluation process for the New gTLD Program: Next Round reflects the recommendations provided in the Final Report on the New gTLD Subsequent Procedures Policy Development Process.

Your participation is important. Please visit the Public Comment page to provide your input.


Lars Hoffmann

Lars Hoffmann

VP, New gTLD Program Management and Deputy Program Lead