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.POST Sponsorship Agreement Posted for Public Comment

(Updated 3 November 2009 to include new email and public comment forum addresses)

ICANN is today posting the .POST Sponsorship Agreement for public comment. ICANN and the Universal Postal Union (UPU) reached an agreement in principle following a challenging yet fruitful negotiation process. The Agreement represents a significant accomplishment for ICANN, the UPU, and the global Internet community, as it is the first gTLD Registry Agreement between ICANN and an Intergovernmental Organization (IGO). "Reaching this agreement provides additional validation of the ICANN model for fostering expansion and competition in the domain name space," said ICANN CEO and President, Rod Beckstrom. "The UPU has also helped mark out a path for other IGOs to sponsor their own top-level domains."

The UPU status as an intergovernmental organization and specialized agency of the United Nations presented a number of challenges when considering several typical gTLD registry contractual provisions. The negotiation for .POST concluded with an agreement that enables both organizations to recognize one another's traditional autonomy, mission and core values.

The .POST Sponsorship Agreement can be viewed at [PDF, 128K], its appendices at [PDF, 244K] and a summary of contractual provisions at [PDF, 36K].

Comments on the proposed agreement can be submitted to through 1 December 2009 and viewed at

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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."