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Applicant Guidebook: Public Comments Analysis and Revised Excerpts

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The second version of the Applicant Guidebook for new generic top-level domains (gTLDs) generated continued public interest, as expressed by over 200 comments received.

A comprehensive report [PDF, 1,555K] is being released today; comments are organised by topic and each are followed by analysis describing how the issues raised in the commentary can be reflected in the Guidebook. (A similar report [PDF, 588K] for the first version of the guidebook was posted in February 2009).

This analysis, the additional excerpts and explanatory memos allow people to see how their comments will affect the next version of the guidebook

The Highlights in this Round

Many changes have been made as a result of the comments so far received. Discussions relating to the overarching issues will continue, and other subject areas have been revised and are being posted today as guidebook excerpts for public comments.

One of the more significant is the recommendation that the proposed registry agreement for new gTLDs be modified to reflect a requirement that all registries offer "Thick" Whois service. Providing Whois service is a central obligation of gTLD registries and registrars under contract with ICANN. Many comments to the proposed registry agreement seek to mandate thick Whois for all new registries suggesting substantial benefits will result, including enhanced accessibility and enhanced stability.

Other revisions include proposed clarifications to: handling of geographical names, evaluation questions, comparative evaluation scoring, dispute resolution procedures and other registry agreement provisions.

More Discussion and More Comment

These revisions along with all the others in this round will also be discussed at the ICANN meeting in Sydney starting June 21, 2009. The excerpts and analysis are supported by four explanatory memoranda.

The public comment period for the guidebook excerpts released today will be open until 20 July 2009. There are four overarching issues:,

  • Trademark Protection
  • The Economic Analysis of new gTLDs
  • Financial Analysis
  • Objection Process

The comments received to the material released today, together with the outcomes of the discussions relating to the overarching issues will constitute the basis for the third version of the guidebook that will be published at the end of the third quarter 2009.

Other New gTLD Program Updates

ICANN continues to balance the need to progress with the new gTLD program with community concerns on specific aspects. With that in mind, the program is expected to launch (i.e., applications will be accepted) in the first quarter of 2010, but we will not open the process until concerns about the overarching issues have been addressed.

Between June and August 2009, ICANN will hold several public discussions designed to arrive at solutions to the overarching issues (focusing on Trademark Protection and Potential for Abusive Conduct) that were identified in the first version of the guidebook. These consultations will start in Sydney during the ICANN Meeting, followed by events in London on New York on 13 July, and London on 15 July. Outreach sessions in Hong Kong and Abu Dhabi to discuss the topics are also being arranged. Additional locations are still under consideration. More information about these events as well as pre-registrations will be announced shortly.

Please continue checking the New gTLD program webpage for updates.

Related links

Public comment summary and analysis (pdf):

Revised excerpts:

Public comment period for excerpts:

New gTLD program webpage

Public comment summary and analysis for guidebook's first version (pdf):


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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."