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Have Your Say on New Top-Level Domains | ICANN seeks public participation in process for evaluating and approving new domains

MARINA DEL REY, Calif.: ICANN wants public input on its development of a new process for creating, approving, and adding new gTLDs (generic top-level domains like .com, .org etc) to the Internet.

“This is all about choice. We want the diversity of the world’s people, geography and business to be able to be represented in the domain name system,” said Dr Paul Twomey, President and CEO of ICANN. “That is why it’s so important for people to participate in the development of a new gTLD process. We will get input from businesses, governments, and the public at large in the coming months and at the ICANN meeting in Puerto Rico on 25-29 June 2007.”

The new process will lay out how gTLDs are proposed and approved, and should allow for a much wider variety of them to be added in a timely, predictable, and efficient manner. ICANN expects that with the public input, the system for approving new gTLDs should be completed by the end of the year, and applications for new top-level domains could be accepted starting in early 2008.

“If the new approval process comes on-line as planned, the global Internet could see new top-level domains added and available between June and August 2008,” Dr Twomey added.

ICANN has overseen two previous extensions of the Internet space: first in 2000 when seven TLDs including .info and .name were added to the domain name system (DNS); the second started in 2004 leading to six more being approved, including .asia.

“When ICANN was founded in 1998, only a few TLDs, including .com, were generally available to the public for registration of domain names. Our mission has been to expand the number of TLDs available to users – and we have made great progress,” Dr Twomey said. “When the new approval process is complete, Internet users around the globe will have more choice in the TLD market.”

Currently there are 120 million registered domain names (unique web addresses) in the world. Of these, 80 million are gTLDs (as opposed to country code top-level domains like .de for Germany or .ca for Canada). The most commonly used gTLD is “.com”, with 62 million domains. There are another 15 gTLDs in existence including .aero to .travel.

Development of the new gTLD process began in December 2005. ICANN’s Generic Names Supporting Organisation (GNSO) has guided the policy development process and its work will be used as the basis for discussion on creating a new approval process. Materials used in meetings, plus minutes and audio recordings, are available on ICANN’s website at

ICANN has also posted an FAQ on the creation of new gTLds at

People can email questions and comments to and can take part in the online discussion at


About ICANN:

ICANN is responsible for the global coordination of the Internet's system of unique identifiers like domain names (like .org, .museum and country codes like .uk) and the addresses used in a variety of Internet protocols that help computers reach each other over the Internet. Careful management of these resources is vital to the Internet's operation, so ICANN's global stakeholders meet regularly to develop policies that ensure the Internet's ongoing security and stability. ICANN is an internationally organized, public benefit non-profit company. For more information please visit:

Media Contacts:

Jason Keenan
Media Adviser, ICANN (USA)
Ph: +1 310 382 4004

International: Andrew Robertson
Edelman (London)
Ph: +44 7921 588 770



Existing generic top-level domains (gTLDs)

Original gTLDs


First round (2000)


Second round (2004)


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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."