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Public Comment Forum for Terms of Reference for New gTLDs

Updated 22 December 2005

The ICANN bylaws require a public comment period of 20 days following the initiation of a gNSO Policy-Development Process (PDP). <http://www.icann.org/general/archive-bylaws/bylaws-08apr05.htm#AnnexA>

ICANN has opened a Public Comment Forum for the below Terms of Reference for New gTLDs . The "Issues Report" for this PDP is available at <http://gnso.icann.org/issues/new-gtlds/gnso-issues-rpt-gtlds-05dec05.pdf>.

The public comment period is from 6 December 2005 to 31 January 2005. Comments may be submitted to the email address <new-gtlds-pdp-comments@icann.org> .

Comments submitted may be viewed at <http://forum.icann.org/lists/new-gtlds-pdp-comments>

gNSO Home Page
Call for comments on gNSO web site


Terms of reference for new gTLDs

  1. Should new generic top level domain names be introduced?
    1. Given the information provided here and any other relevant information available to the GNSO, the GNSO should assess whether there is sufficient support within the Internet community to enable the introduction of new top level domains. If this is the case the following additional terms of reference are applicable.
  2. Selection Criteria for New Top Level Domains
    1. Taking into account the existing selection criteria from previous top level domain application processes and relevant criteria in registry services re-allocations, develop modified or new criteria which specifically address ICANN's goals of expanding the use and usability of the Internet. In particular, examine ways in which the allocation of new top level domains can meet demands for broader use of the Internet in developing countries.
    2. Examine whether preferential selection criteria (e.g. sponsored) could be developed which would encourage new and innovative ways of addressing the needs of Internet users.
    3. Examine whether additional criteria need to be developed which address ICANN's goals of ensuring the security and stability of the Internet.
  3. Allocation Methods for New Top Level Domains
    1. Using the experience gained in previous rounds, develop allocation methods for selecting new top level domain names.
    2. Examine the full range of allocation methods including auctions, ballots, first-come first-served and comparative evaluation to determine the methods of allocation that best enhance user choice while not compromising predictability and stability.
    3. Examine how allocation methods could be used to achieve ICANN's goals of fostering competition in domain name registration services and encouraging a diverse range of registry services providers.
  4. Policy to Guide Contractual Conditions for New Top Level Domains
    1. Using the experience of previous rounds of top level domain name application processes and the recent amendments to registry services agreements, develop policies to guide the contractual criteria which are publicly available prior to any application rounds.
    2. Determine what policies are necessary to provide security and stability of registry services.
    3. Determine appropriate policies to guide a contractual compliance programme for registry services.

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