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Request for Proposal for Global Consumer Survey

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers ("ICANN") is seeking one or more providers to conduct a global survey assessing aspects of consumer trust and perceived consumer choice and the Internet domain name system (DNS). The selected provider(s) will design and execute an initial survey to create a meaningful baseline of data on consumer attitudes and will perform a follow-on survey one year later, to generate a set of comparison data. ICANN is seeking qualified providers to manage this set of complex survey activities in a timely and efficient manner.

The survey is intended to contribute to one of the reviews mandated by ICANN's Affirmation of Commitments ("Affirmation"). The Affirmation outlines ICANN's responsibilities to the global community of Internet users, who are all served by the DNS. The Affirmation focuses on three primary areas of accountability: (a) ensuring accountability, transparency and the interests of global Internet users; (b) preserving security, stability and resiliency of the DNS; and (c) promoting competition, consumer trust and consumer choice. Each of the focus areas includes regular reviews by the community to gauge ICANN's performance. The survey will serve as one source of data to inform the analysis of how the New gTLD Program has promoted competition, consumer trust and consumer choice.

The consumer survey will capture some of the metrics proposed by ICANN's community members  from the Generic Names Supporting Organization (GNSO) and the At-Large Advisory Committee (ALAC) to evaluate the impact of the New gTLD Program on competition, consumer trust and consumer choice. A review team, to be formed, will include the survey results as it examines other measures, such as the geographic spread of new gTLD registrations, the number of internationalized domain names (IDNs or domains in scripts that include characters outside the letters a-z, numbers 0-9 and a hyphen) available, and the relative incidence of compliance complaints, among many others.

As the DNS is relevant to all Internet users worldwide, the survey must be globally representative of all geographic regions, and thus the selected provider(s) must be able to conduct its work across multiple countries and languages. The proposed methodology must also be replicable one year after the initial survey is conducted to measure changes in attitudes as new gTLDs become more prominent in the domain name space.

For additional information and instructions for submitting responses please click here [ZIP, 1.08 MB].

Proposals should be submitted to globalconsumersurvey-rfp@icann.org by 23:59 UTC ON 6 August 2014.


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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""icann.org"" is not an IDN."