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ICANN Launches Latest Consultation on New Top-Level Domains | Public, stakeholder comments sought on proposals for new top-level domain process

MARINA DEL REY, Calif.: The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is taking another step towards its goal of bringing new generic Top-Level Domains (gTLDs) online with today’s launch of a public consultation on a key report from ICANN’s Generic Names Supporting Organization (GNSO).

“This is all about providing Internet users with choice. More top-level domains – the part of the domain name that comes after the last dot – mean more competition, more options, and the possibility for more targeted or user-specific domain names,” said Dr Paul Twomey, ICANN’s President and CEO. “When coupled with ICANN’s current work on introducing internationalized domain names, it is possible that hundreds and, eventually, more than 1,000 new TLDs could be created.”

The GNSO report describes proposed global policies related to the creation of new top-level domains that advance ICANN’s mission of preserving the security, stability and interoperability of the Internet.

“The report raises some interesting questions – like how to deal with proposals that may be considered controversial by some groups or individuals. That’s why it’s so important that as many people as possible share their advice and help us ensure that the new gTLD process works,” added Dr Twomey.

While all input is welcomed and encouraged, the consultation is looking for comments in a number of areas:

  • the package of principles, proposed policy recommendations and implementation guidelines for new gTLDs,
  • the selection criteria for new top-level domains related to applicants, strings, and processes,
  • contractual conditions for new top-level domain operators, and
  • proposed procedures for resolving objections to strings or applicants.

The specific policy recommendations, as well as the online comment forum, and links to provide comments are available at The consultation closes at 4 pm PDT on 30 August 2007.

A complete summary and analysis of community feedback will be made available at the end of the comment period, and considered by the GNSO Council prior to its vote on the report on 6 September 2007. If the Council accepts the policy recommendations, it will be then be considered by the ICANN Board.

“The policy proposals laid out in the report have been generated from the ground up, and the consultation is ICANN’s opportunity to fine tune them with the help of the interested Internet community,” added Dr Twomey.

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

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

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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."