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Laying the Groundwork for the Next Phase of the New gTLD Program

11 December 2023

Throughout 2023, the ICANN Board, community, and organization have made significant steps toward launching another round of applications for new generic top-level domains (gTLDs). I wanted to share an update as we approach the year's end.

Following the delivery and publication of the New gTLD Program: Next Round Implementation Plan in July, the ICANN organization entered into the next implementation phase. To ensure the work continues to go smoothly, we have put in place an updated governance model and new leadership for the program.

As part of this next phase, I am happy to share that I have been appointed to lead the New gTLD Program team, taking on the position formerly filled by Karen Lentz. Karen, who led the work leading to the implementation plan, will now shift her focus to the implementation of other important policies, ensuring those are proceeding on course. Julie Hoffmeister, who has extensive experience in delivering large-scale projects, is supporting the program as Implementation Manager, and Lars Hoffmann is taking on the role of Program Manager. Together, we form the new leadership team for the program, building on the strong team and work that led to the implementation plan.

Over the next few weeks, we will continue to evolve our operating model, which involves extensive collaboration to meet the program's objectives. This consistent and transparent operating model will include enhanced status reporting to the community, so you are able to track our progress against the established implementation timelines. Substantive work is well underway on the development of the Applicant Guidebook, and implementation of the Applicant Support Program and Registry Service Provider Evaluation Program. The latter two are expected to roll out in the second half of 2024.

I also want to acknowledge all the hard work that you, the community, have done in preparing for the next round. Much has been accomplished, but there is still more to do. We are counting on you to continue to deliver on the dependencies that are currently with the community. This includes, among others, the Name Collision Analysis Project, the Internationalized Domain Names Expedited Policy Development Process Working Group, and the work that the Generic Names Supporting Organization is undertaking on the recommendations from the Final Report on the New gTLD Subsequent Procedures Policy Development Process that were not adopted by the ICANN Board. Once these dependencies are addressed, we will be able to finalize the delivery plan for the Applicant Guidebook.

We will continue to report on the progress of the implementation work as we go forward. I would also invite you to follow the latest news on the New gTLD Program website.


Marika Konings

Marika Konings

VP, New gTLD Program Lead