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Evaluators Selection for the New gTLD Program Continues

ICANN has received 12 responses to the call for Expressions of Interest (EOI) for independent evaluators in the new generic top-level domain name (gTLD) program. The application period for organizations interested in evaluating applications for new gTLDs took place between 13 April and 15 September 2009. The respondents are well-qualified and respected organizations from Australia, Belgium, Iran, Jordan, United Kingdom, and the United States.

The panel selection process is part of the New gTLD Program’s operational readiness and organizations will be retained to examine the applications covering the following areas: (1) Applicant Evaluation (Technical and Financial Evaluation); (2) Geographical Names; (3) String Similarity; (4) Community Priority (formerly known as Comparative Evaluation).

List of respondents



1. Deloitte & Laga


2. Economist Intelligence Unit

United States

3. Ernst & Young

United States

4. Fulcrum Financial Inquiry

United States

5. GeoLang LTD

United Kingdom

6. InterConnect Communications

United Kingdom

7. Iranian ICT Guild Organization (IranNSR)


8. JAS Communications

United States


United States

10. TAEUS International

United States

11. Talal Abu Ghazaleh Information Technology International


12. Webb Henderson


Although the launch date of the gTLD Program remains uncertain, ICANN is moving forward with securing Evaluation Panelists, due to the critical nature of their involvement in the process and the anticipated lead time required to train and integrate the evaluation processes with each firm.

Over the next few months, ICANN will identify a short-list of qualified candidates that demonstrate sufficient expertise, resources and geographic diversity to meet program needs. The short-listed candidates will be selected based on a scoring system developed in line with vendor selection processes previously employed by ICANN staff – a copy of the general criteria is included below. The short-listed candidates will be invited to present their qualifications to ICANN staff and subject matter experts for each area of assessment. The candidates will be asked a series of process and technical questions that will enable staff to better understand the candidate’s approach to evaluating applications in an effective and efficient manner, technical competence, and maintaining an acceptable level of quality and consistency of analysis and results. Each candidate’s key team members will also be evaluated on responses to situations they may encounter during the application evaluation process.

For each area of assessment, ICANN’s plan is to have primary and back up evaluation service providers. The selection of back up panelists is to provide additional and necessary benefits, such as, managing conflicts of interest between the evaluation and applicants, promoting competition and accountability amongst the evaluation panelists to promote a consistently high quality

of service, and to provide additional services should the primary panelist have challenges with quality, consistency, and/or scalability.

As these steps are completed, ICANN will share progress with the community as we move towards the selecting the final evaluation panelist service providers. The retention of the service providers is expected to occur in the first half of 2010.

General Criteria Matrix


General Questions

Score (1 – 10)

Candidate A

Candidate B

Candidate C

Candidate D

Candidate E

Candidate F

Candidate G

Approach and Scalability


The candidates overall approach is logical, achievable, demonstrates quality, and is clear about managing conflicts of interest in appearance or fact.









The completion of application analysis adequately meets the timing requirements described in the Applicant Guidebook; Initial Evaluation (4.5 months), Extended Evaluation (5 months), etc.









The evaluation approach adequately covers the principles of fairness, transparency, and non-discrimination.









The candidates approach for scaling between 100 to 2,000 applications is clear and achievable


















The approach includes a process to ensure the consistency of evaluation results.









Through its demonstrated knowledge of the new gTLD program and Applicant Guidebook the candidate has described how it will provide input to help continually refine the process to ensure consistent, objective analysis and results.
















Skill Set & Experience


The candidate has an understanding of ICANN, its role, structure and processes, including DNS and past gTLD application & evaluation rounds









The candidate has experience with the operation of registries and/or registrars









The resources provided for the evaluation panel have the ability to convene globally and have the appropriate skill set and experience to conduct the analysis and provide sufficient results.
















Cost & Sustainability


The cost to perform evaluation services, including assumptions for determining such costs, are transparent, reasonable, and sustainable.
























Related Resources:

For Program details, go to:

For International Tenders & Expressions of Interest details go to:

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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."