ICANN Acronyms and Terms

ICANN has hundreds of acronyms and terms, which can be confusing. We created this multilingual tool to help explain what these terms mean and facilitate your work within the ICANN community.

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ICANN Acronyms and Terms

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A notice that an individual or entity (a petitioner) within the Empowered Community uses to raise a formal objection to an action taken or not taken by the ICANN Board. Petitioners submit petitions using the formal process defined by the Supporting Organization (SO) or Advisory Committee (AC) to which they belong. If the SO or AC accepts the petition, it must submit it to the ICANN Board within the timeframe specified by the ICANN Bylaws.


A form of fraud in which an attacker directs Internet users to a fraudulent website with the intent of stealing login credentials and other sensitive data from them. In a pharming scheme, an attacker alters the Internet Protocol (IP) address of a reputable domain name by hijacking the domain name registration or poisoning the cache in a name server. The altered IP address directs users to the attacker’s website, which is disguised to look like the website belonging to the legitimate domain name holder. Once there, users are duped into entering login credentials, credit card numbers, or other sensitive data.


A form of fraud in which an attacker masquerades as a trusted entity to infect a computer with malware or obtain sensitive information (e.g., login credentials or credit card numbers). Often attackers deceive victims by sending emails (or other types of electronic messages) that appear to be from a trusted person or a reputable entity. Phishing messages often include a link that leads victims to a fraudulent website where they are duped into revealing their login credentials or other private information.

policy development process(PDP)

The process, specified in the ICANN Bylaws, through which ICANN’s Supporting Organizations and Advisory Committees develop and refine policies within ICANN’s mission and scope. The policy development process includes opportunities for Public Comment to allow interested members of the global Internet community to share their views on policy proposals. When the community achieves consensus, the relevant Supporting Organization submits the policy recommendations to the ICANN Board for approval.

Policy Forum

The second Public Meeting in ICANN’s three-meeting annual cycle. The Policy Forum focuses on the policy development work of Supporting Organizations and the advice development work of the Advisory Committees.

Policy Proposal Facilitator Team(PPFT)

A group that evaluates global policy proposals to determine whether the proposals require specific Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) actions or outcomes. The PPFT is appointed by the Address Supporting Organization Address Councilwhich is composed of representatives from each of the Regional Internet Registries.

Post-Delegation Dispute Resolution Procedures(PDDRP)

Formal procedures that give certain parties a way to resolve disputes related to the conduct of a registry operator for a generic top-level domain. ICANN currently has PDDRPs for disputes related to trademark infringement, registration restrictions, and public interest commitments.

Disputes resolved by a PDDRP are administered by Dispute Resolution Service Providers approved by ICANN. Complainants are required to take specific steps to address their issues before filing a formal complaint. An expert panel determines whether a registry operator is at fault and recommends remedies to ICANN.

Post-Expiration Domain Name Recovery(PEDNR)

A policy that describes a registrar’s responsibilities with respect to restoring an expired domain name to the registrant of record at the time of expiration. PEDNR describes the process registrars must follow before deleting an expired domain name. It also outlines the processes and rules under which a registrant can renew an expired registration.

pre-delegation test

In the New Generic Top-Level Domain Program (New gTLD Program), a technical test required before an applicant’s applied-for gTLD string is delegated into the root zone.

primary contact

In the New Generic Top-Level Domain Program (New gTLD Program), the person named by an applicant to act as the main contact for the gTLD application. The primary contact has the authority to make decisions concerning the application.

principal place of business

In the New Generic Top-Level Domain Program (New gTLD Program), the address of the main office for the applicant’s business or organization.

privacy service

A service provided by a third party that prevents certain contact information for a registrant from appearing in Registration Directory Services such as WHOIS. A privacy service allows a registrant to appear as the domain name holder of record, but it provides alternate contact information for that registrant. For example, the privacy address might provide a forwarding address in place of the registrant's home address.

Process Documentation Initiative

An effort that began in January 2017 to describe and document processes involving interaction between the ICANN community and the ICANN organization. This effort resulted in a series of easy-to-follow materials that serve as introductions to key processes conducted across ICANN's multistakeholder model.


Any form of intercomputer communication that has been standardized to ensure that computers can communicate with one another. Many Internet protocols are developed by the Internet Engineering Task Force and standardized in formal documents called Request for Comments.

protocol characters

In an Internet message, characters that are meaningful to the protocols that transport or process the message. For example, the slash (/), colon (:), and hash (#) characters have special meaning to protocols that use uniform resource locators (URLs) to identify Internet resources. For this reason, the Domain Name System prohibits labels that contain these characters.

protocol parameter

A unique code, value, or name, used by the Internet protocols. Examples of important protocol parameters include port numbers, language tags, and media types. Standard parameters enable hardware and software from different vendors to communicate successfully over the Internet.

ICANN, in coordination with the Internet Engineering Task Force, maintains authoritative registries of the protocol parameters used by many of the Internet protocols.

proxy service

A service provided by a third party that shields the identity of a customer by becoming the domain name’s holder of record. When the domain name is queried by a Registration Directory Service such as WHOIS, the identity and contact information for the proxy service is shown.

public and private key pair

A pair of cryptographic keys used to encrypt, decrypt, or digitally sign messages exchanged over the Internet. The private key is known only to the owner of the key pair. The public key is distributed to those parties with whom the key’s owner wants to exchange encrypted or digitally signed messages.

The Domain Name System Security Extensions (DNSSEC) technology uses public-private cryptography to sign and validate query responses from authoritative name servers in the root zone. DNSSEC does not, however, encrypt the responses themselves.

Public Comment

A mechanism that gives the ICANN community and other stakeholders an opportunity to provide input and feedback. Public Comment is a key part of the policy development process, allowing for refinement of recommendations before further consideration and potential adoption. Public Comment is also used to guide implementation work, reviews, and operational activities of the ICANN organization.

Public Forum

A period of open discussion during an ICANN Public Meeting, where the ICANN community can speak directly with the ICANN Board of Directors. Public Forums are held during the Community Forum and the Annual General Meeting.