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Draft Applicant Guidebook for New gTLDs Available Soon | Six-module guide out for public comment in next fortnight

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In the next two weeks, in the lead up to ICANN’s Cairo public meeting, the new generic top-level domain (gTLD) Applicant Guidebook, also called the “draft Request for Proposal (RFP)”, will be released. This document will provide information to applicants wanting to apply for a new gTLD.

The Draft Applicant Guidebook will be in a draft format and posted for public comment and review. It will comprise six modules:

  1. Introduction to the gTLD Application Process, which includes the main evaluation fee
  2. Evaluation Process
  3. Objection and Dispute Resolution
  4. String Contention
  5. Transition to Delegation
  6. Top-Level Domain Allocation Terms and Conditions

An accompanying announcement to the Draft Applicant Guidebook will highlight areas of the process that remain under development. These areas will be made available for public consultation in the near future.

A public comment webpage will allow for detailed review and input submitted by the Internet community. ICANN expects to engage in a productive and robust dialogue with the Internet community through a consultative process that will last for forty-five days. Comments will be used to revise and prepare the final Applicant Guidebook, to be released early 2009.

In addition to the Draft Applicant Guidebook, ICANN will post a series of papers that will serve as explanatory memoranda to assist the Internet community to better understand the implementation work. Some of the topics covered by these papers include the proposed methodologies for string contention resolution and protection of rights of others.

For current information, timelines and activities related to the New gTLD Program, please go to

New gTLDs and ICANN – a brief overview

Since ICANN was founded ten years ago as a non-for-profit, multi stakeholder organization dedicated to coordinating the Internet’s addressing system, one of its foundational principles, recognized by the United States and other governments, has been to promote competition in the domain-name marketplace while ensuring Internet security and stability. The expansion will allow for more innovation, choice and change to the Internet’s addressing system, now constrained by only 21 generic top-level domain names. In a world with 1.5 billion Internet users – and growing – diversity, choice and competition is key to the continued success and reach of the global network.

The decision to launch these coming new gTLD application rounds followed a detailed and lengthy consultation process with all constituencies of the global Internet community. Representatives from a wide variety of stakeholders – governments, individuals, civil society, business and intellectual property constituencies, and the technology community – were engaged in discussions for more than 18 months. In October 2007, the Generic Names Supporting Organization (GNSO) – one of the groups that coordinate global internet policy at ICANN - completed its policy development work on new gTLDs and approved a set of recommendations. The culmination of this policy development process was a decision by the ICANN Board of Directors to adopt the community-developed policy in June 2008 at the ICANN meeting in Paris. A thorough brief to the Policy process and outcomes can be found at


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Cairo international public meeting:


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Domain Name System
Internationalized Domain Name ,IDN,"IDNs are domain names that include characters used in the local representation of languages that are not written with the twenty-six letters of the basic Latin alphabet ""a-z"". An IDN can contain Latin letters with diacritical marks, as required by many European languages, or may consist of characters from non-Latin scripts such as Arabic or Chinese. Many languages also use other types of digits than the European ""0-9"". The basic Latin alphabet together with the European-Arabic digits are, for the purpose of domain names, termed ""ASCII characters"" (ASCII = American Standard Code for Information Interchange). These are also included in the broader range of ""Unicode characters"" that provides the basis for IDNs. The ""hostname rule"" requires that all domain names of the type under consideration here are stored in the DNS using only the ASCII characters listed above, with the one further addition of the hyphen ""-"". The Unicode form of an IDN therefore requires special encoding before it is entered into the DNS. The following terminology is used when distinguishing between these forms: A domain name consists of a series of ""labels"" (separated by ""dots""). The ASCII form of an IDN label is termed an ""A-label"". All operations defined in the DNS protocol use A-labels exclusively. The Unicode form, which a user expects to be displayed, is termed a ""U-label"". The difference may be illustrated with the Hindi word for ""test"" — परीका — appearing here as a U-label would (in the Devanagari script). A special form of ""ASCII compatible encoding"" (abbreviated ACE) is applied to this to produce the corresponding A-label: xn--11b5bs1di. A domain name that only includes ASCII letters, digits, and hyphens is termed an ""LDH label"". Although the definitions of A-labels and LDH-labels overlap, a name consisting exclusively of LDH labels, such as"""" is not an IDN."