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More Time and Additional Materials Posted for Applicant Guidebook

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ICANN is extending the New gTLDs Applicant Guidebook public comment deadline until December 15. The new deadline applies to the English posting only. For the remaining languages the deadline is still January 7. (The extension is in line with recent community discussion that time during ICANN meetings (i.e., the recent Cairo meeting) should not toll comment periods.) ICANN urges the Internet community to continue providing feedback. This consultative process is key to assist the organization to further improve the New gTLDs program.

Since the posting on 23 October 2008 of the draft Applicant Guidebook for new generic top-level domains, ICANN has been receiving valuable comments from the Internet community. Several of the comments and questions have been focused on the proposed gTLD base agreement.

Considering the growing interest and on-going inquiries on this topic, ICANN is posting today additional background information about the proposed base agreement. The additional materials are intended to further clarify the explanatory memorandum entitled "Summary Changes to Base Agreement" posted on October 23 2008 along with the draft applicant guidebook. This posting does not signal an intention to "hold fast" to the current draft – but rather the opposite: changes to the draft are already planned and additional information will facilitate public discussion regarding the content of those changes.

There are two documents being posted at this time:

(1) "Expanded Summary of Changes to Base Agreement for New gTLDs" [PDF, 246K], which is a more comprehensive version of the initially posted memo entitled "Summary Changes to Base Agreement" posted with the draft Applicant Guidebook in October

(2) "Comparison between gTLD Agreements from 2005-2007 and Draft Base Registry Agreement for New gTLDs" [PDF, 191K], which is an annotated "blackline" comparison that attempts to show every difference between the 2005-2007 gTLD agreements and the proposed new base agreement. It includes 56 detailed footnotes explaining most of the additions, deletions, and modifications to the language.

As indicated previously, it is important to note that the proposed draft agreement is not final and has not yet been approved by ICANN's Board of Directors. It has been set out for review and community discussion purposes, and we encourage comments and suggestions for improvement. The current draft base agreement as well as other aspects of the New gTLD Program are subject to changes based on community feedback and other considerations.

ICANN is looking forward to a continuing robust dialog with the Internet community and will make all efforts to provider clarifications as needed.

To submit comments on the draft registry agreement and the rest of the draft Applicant Guidebook, please continue to visit

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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."