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New gTLD Draft Applicant Guidebook, Version 4 Available for Public Comment

See 1 June 2010 revisions and additional information here.

A fourth draft of the Applicant Guidebook that describes the process of applying for new generic top-level domains was released today along with explanatory memoranda and detailed analysis of comments received. The program continues to improve and moves toward completion thanks to the outstanding collaboration from the ICANN Community working groups whose expertise helped to address and bring toward closure several challenging issues.

Also posted are the summaries and analyses of the public comment period on topics such as: trademark & community protections, potential for malicious conduct, IDN issues and registry operations & agreement.


Public Participation

The evolving product is the successful result of countless hours of proactive participation and thoughtful feedback not only from the general public, but particularly from the ICANN stakeholder community members. A special thanks to the following groups for responding to the challenge of working on difficult issues in a brief period of time:

  • IRT (Implementation Recommendations Team) – trademark protections
  • STI (Special Trademark Issues group) – Uniform Rapid Suspension and Trademark Clearinghouse
  • ZFA (Zone File Access group) -- standardized zone file access model
  • HSTLD (High Security Top-Level Domains) – special designation for high security TLDs
  • TDG (Temporary Drafting Group) registry agreement and post-delegation dispute resolution procedures
  • VI-WG (Vertical Integration Working Group) – Registry/Registrar separation


What’s new in Draft Applicant Guidebook Version 4?

The new version has important new content, for example:

  • Incorporation of trademark protections, including improvements to the Uniform Rapid Suspension (URS), the Trademark Clearinghouse (TM Clearinghouse), and the Post-Delegation Dispute Resolution Proposal (PDDRP);
  • Changes to rules for geographic TLDs, including a prohibition on country names as gTLDs;
  • A new gTLD Registry transition process model, including provisions for emergency transition in the case of prolonged Registry technical outages;
  • A model for providing centralized zone file access (ZFA) to aid in combating malicious conduct;
  • A revised base Registry agreement, the contract future registries must sign with ICANN, including new features such as:
    • Registry-Registrar cross-ownership language -- proposed position pending the Generic Names Supporting Organization (GNSO) policy-development work;
    • Emergency Registry transition provision -- to be used for protection of registrants in the event of prolonged Registry technical outage;
    • Special new agreement provisions for governmental and inter-governmental organization (IGO) applicants -- based on negotiations with Universal Postal Union (UPU) for .post (subject to modification for different circumstances of other similar organizations);
    • New "hybrid" process for future amendments -- based on consultations with Registries and others;
    • New provisions for centralized registry zone file access (ZFA).

Among the accompanying materials, also open for comments are:

  • Proposed New gTLD Program Budget
  • Market/Economic Study: an initial analysis of the costs and benefits of the introduction of new gTLDs – to be released shortly


Upcoming Program Events

During the June ICANN Meeting in Brussels there will be several program sessions, including:

  • General New gTLD Program update, including highlights of the Draft Applicant Guidebook, version 4.
  • Reducing Barriers to gTLD Creation for Developing Regions
  • Brand Management in the Age of New gTLDs - Trademark Protection mechanisms discussed.

For final schedule and remote participation access information see:



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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."