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New gTLDs: Call for Applicant Evaluation Panel Expressions of Interest

Marina del Rey, California: ICANN is soliciting Expressions of Interest from firms interested in and capable of performing any number of independent evaluation roles as part of the new gTLD process. These entities, to be retained by ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers), will provide independent evaluation services, evaluating applications for new top-level domains (gTLDs). This is an opportunity to play an important role in the next significant evolution of the Internet's domain name space.

ICANN is today publishing a call for Expressions of Interest for the following evaluation roles:


The Internet community through ICANN is engaged in finalising the process to introduce new gTLDs. The upcoming launch of new gTLD application rounds will follow a detailed and lengthy consultation process with all constituencies of the global Internet community. Representatives from a wide variety of stakeholders-governments, individuals, civil society, business and intellectual property constituencies, and the technology community-were engaged in discussions for more than 18 months. Introducing competition is a core element of ICANN's work and all this policy development work culminated with ICANN's Board of Directors deciding to adopt the community-developed policy at the ICANN Paris meeting in June 2008. See

In October 2008, ICANN published the first Draft Applicant Guidebook for public comment. The Guidebook is the "instruction manual" for entities interested in applying for a gTLD.

Several hundred applications are expected from entities around the world during the first application round. Independent evaluation panels will be retained to assess whether applicants meet the minimum criteria specified in the Guidebook.

Evaluation Needs

Respondents to the EOIs in this announcement can propose to perform one or more of the anticipated evaluation roles. Detail on each of these roles is included in Module 2 of the revised Applicant Guidebook ( for the new gTLD process.

Potential responders to this call for EOIs should know that:

  • The new gTLD process is not yet launched. There are some overarching issues to be worked through with the community that must be addressed by ICANN prior to accepting applications. While timelines are fairly clear, they are not certain.
  • ICANN has recently published a revised version of the Applicant Guidebook, but the information in the Guidebook is not yet finalized
  • Therefore, contracts will not be awarded from this call for expressions of interest, but ICANN expects to use the responses to identify entities capable of providing the various evaluation roles.
  • The information received as a result of this inquiry will also be used to verify costing and time-to-evaluation information for the final Guidebook.

Work associated with making final revisions to the process is proceeding. However ICANN is taking this step to ensure the delivery of a competent, timely, robust evaluation process once overarching issues are resolved in a manner broadly supported by the Internet community.

Retaining competent evaluation panels with sufficient expertise, resources and geographic diversity is expected to take many months. Some steps, such as the publication of this call for expressions of interest, are being taken now, even though other important decisions regarding the implementation process are still to be made.

From the information provided, ICANN will invite respondents to exchange additional information as the launch date becomes more defined.

Interested providers should submit responses by 13 April 2009 23:59 UTC to the appropriate email addresses listed for each EOI above. A confirmation email will be sent in response to each proposal received within one business day.


To reach another person on the Internet you have to type an address into your computer - a name or a number. That address has to be unique so computers know where to find each other. ICANN coordinates these unique identifiers across the world. Without that coordination we wouldn't have one global Internet.

ICANN was formed in 1998. It is a not-for-profit public-benefit corporation with participants from all over the world dedicated to keeping the Internet secure, stable and interoperable. It promotes competition and develops policy on the Internet's unique identifiers.

ICANN doesn't control content on the Internet. It cannot stop spam and it doesn't deal with access to the Internet. But through its coordination role of the Internet's naming system, it does have an important impact on the expansion and evolution of the Internet.

Specifically, 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:

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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."