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Request for Proposal Announcement - DNS Abuse Study

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers' ("ICANN") New Generic Top-Level Domain (gTLD) Program has enabled hundreds of new generic top-level domains to enter into the domain name system (DNS) since the first delegations occurred in October 2013.

A number of safeguards were built into the Program that were intended to mitigate rates of abusive, malicious, and criminal activity in these new gTLDs, such as phishing, spam, malware distribution, and botnet command-and-control. ICANN is currently engaged in a review of these safeguards and their effects on rates of DNS abuse, and is seeking a provider to conduct a study examining rates of malicious and abusive behavior in the global DNS.

RFP timeline at a glance:

Activity Dates
RFP published 2 August 2016
Participants to indicate interest and submit any questions to ICANN via the ICANN Sourcing tool 12 August 2016 by 23:59 UTC
ICANN responds to participant questions 19 August 2016
Participant RFP proposals due by 25 August 2016 by 23:59 UTC
Initial evaluation of responses 26 August thru 10 September 2016
Supplier presentations including Q&A via conference call/remote participation with shortlisted candidates 13 thru 16 September 2016
Final evaluations and selection of supplier (includes negotiations, contracting and award) 19 September thru 14 October 2016
Estimated start of study 17 October 2016
Draft report with preliminary findings due 2 January 2017
Final report due (incorporating revisions and updated research findings) 17 March 2017

For an overview of the RFP, please click here [PDF, 244 KB].

Indications of interest are to be received by 23:59 UTC on 12 August 2016 by emailing DNSAbuse-Study-RFP@icann.org. Proposals should be electronically submitted by 23:59 UTC on 25 August 2016 using ICANN's sourcing tool, access to which can be requested via the same email address. Submissions should be provided using supplied templates, supplemented by additional information, as necessary.


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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."