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Continuing to Move New gTLDs Forward

The ICANN Board met in Trondheim Norway on 24-25 September,  focusing specifically on new gTLD issues. As ICANN completes preparations for expansion of the top-level domain space, the Board is working  to ensure that key issues (including competition, consumer protection, security, stability and resiliency, malicious abuse issues, and rights protection) will be adequately addressed prior to implementation.

The expansion of the top level domain space is intended to promote competition and consumer choice, and the work this week will ensure an effective application and evaluation process with safeguards to mitigate costs and risks.

The detailed Board discussion was guided by recent community input and provided direction in the implementation of trademark protections, the new registry agreement terms, measures to mitigate malicious conduct, and ensuring root zone stability. The resolutions indicate that many important issues have been addressed, including trademark protection, morality and public order, and vertical integration.

Chairman Peter Dengate Thrush indicated that "The board made considerable progress on the remaining issues and has asked staff to prepare additional working papers and a modified applicant guidebook for public review prior to the upcoming ICANN meeting in Cartagena in December 2010. The meeting results represent a key milestone after years of work by the ICANN community as we prepare for community discussion and debate in Cartagena."

Reviewing the Board direction, President and CEO Rod Beckstrom stated, "ICANN is prepared to implement this important new offering to increase consumer choice and to promote competition."


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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""icann.org"" is not an IDN."