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Explanatory Memoranda Papers for New GTLDs Applicant Guidebook

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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 for public comment. This document will provide information to applicants wanting to apply for a new gTLD.

As previously announced, a series of papers that serve as explanatory memoranda, to assist understanding of the implementation work are also being released and are available now.

The Explanatory Memoranda Papers are:

  1. Resolving String Contention – a complete lifecycle including String Contention Resolution [PDF, 565K]
  2. Proposed Process for Geographic Names Applications [PDF, 109K]
  3. Update to DNS Stability Paper – additional Technical Criteria Requirements, including Internationalized Domain Names (IDNs) [PDF, 68K]
  4. Protection of Rights of Others in New gTLDs [PDF, 77K]

These papers are being posted in English only at this point but will be soon be available in Arabic, Chinese, French, Spanish and Russian, as determined by the ICANN Translation Principles [PDF].

An additional Explanatory Memorandum paper, “Cost Considerations of the New gTLDs Program”, will be published with the Draft Applicant Guidebook before ICANN's next international meeting in Cairo on November 2, 2008.

The papers are available for download at the New gTLD Program webpage. It is important to note that they are in draft form and for discussion only. Potential applicants for new gTLDs should not rely on any of the proposed details of the new gTLD program. The new gTLD program remains subject to further consultation and revision.

A public comment period of 45 days will open on the papers and the Applicant guidebook on Friday 24 October, 2008.

New GTLDs and the Internet - Openness. Change. Innovation.

After years of discussion and thought, new generic top-level domains (gTLDs) are being expanded. They will allow for more innovation, choice and change to a global Internet presently served by only 21 generic top-level domain names.

As a not-for profit corporation dedicated to coordinating the Internet's addressing system, ICANN is not doing this to add to its revenue.  An implementation plan is being developed with opportunities for public comment.  There will be processes for objections. There has also been detailed technical scrutiny to ensure the Internet's stability and security. There will be an evaluation fee but it will recover costs only (expenses so far, application processing and anticipated legal costs).

Promoting competition and choice is one of the principles upon which ICANN was founded. In a world with 1.5 billion Internet users (and growing), diversity, choice and innovation are key.  The Internet has supported huge increases in choice, innovation and the competition of ideas, and expanding new gTLDs is an opportunity for more.

Find out details at:  

Openness. Change. Innovation.

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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."