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New gTLD Applicant Guidebook 2011 Sept 19

On 20 June 2011 the ICANN Board voted to approve the Applicant Guidebook for the New gTLD Program. Having concluded the detailed stakeholder discussions on policy and implementation for this program, ICANN is preparing for its launch: applications for new gTLDs are planned to be accepted 12 January – 12 April 2012. (Note: all applicants must at least register in the online application system by 29 March 2012.)

The Applicant Guidebook is a comprehensive guide for applicants that describes the New Generic Top-Level Domain program's requirements and evaluation processes. The Applicant Guidebook has been developed and improved through extensive public review by specialized working groups and ICANN's Supporting Organizations and Advisory Committees. Each draft has been accompanied by extensive public comment analyses, explanatory memoranda, and independent reports. The modifications made to this version of the guidebook (version 2011-07-29) are primarily limited to changes directed by the Board resolution from the 20 June meeting in Singapore.

What's next?

The Applicant Guidebook is intended to be an inclusive guide and will be regularly updated as aspects of the process are deemed necessary and are implemented. In addition to the Applicant Guidebook, a summary of changes since the last version and a discussion version of a process for amending the Applicant Guidebook are also posted. There are certain areas where work is still ongoing, such as: whether single character Internationalized Domain Names (IDNs) can be delegated as TLDs, ensuring continued registry operation through a continued operations instrument, and providing support for needy applicants through the work of the Joint Applicant Support (JAS) working group.

As to the last issue, the Board is committed to providing support for applicants from developing countries, and the JAS working group has recommended the criteria for that support. ICANN is launching the first phase of an Applicant Support Program. This online work space was created to connect potential applicants who wish to establish a new public interest gTLD registry in their community with organizations who wish to offer either financial or non-financial assistance.

Check the site regularly, as we will continue to add tools and resources.

Below you will find the complete version of the Applicant Guidebook.

New gTLD Applicant Guidebook 19 Sept 2011

(updated 21 Sept 2011)

Presented in Full and by Module

New gTLD Applicant Guidebook 19 Sept 2011 [PDF, 4.69 MB]
(updated 21 Sept 2011)

Module 1

Introduction to the gTLD Application Process [PDF, 688 KB]

Module 2

Evaluation Procedures [PDF, 919 KB]
Key Content
Evaluation Questions and Criteria [PDF, 725 KB]

Module 3

Objection Procedures [PDF, 315 KB]
Key Content
New gTLD Dispute Resolution Procedure [PDF, 128 KB]
Draft ICDR Fees [PDF, 23 KB]
Draft ICDR Rules [PDF, 30 KB]
WIPO Fees [PDF, 32 KB]
WIPO Rules [PDF, 43 KB]

Module 4

String Contention Procedures [PDF, 621 KB]

Module 5

Transition to Delegation [PDF, 364 KB]
Key Content
Base Agreement & Specifications [PDF, 4.5 MB]
Uniform Rapid Suspension [PDF, 169 KB]
Trademark Clearinghouse [PDF, 550 KB]
Post Delegation Dispute Resolution (PDDRP) [PDF, 406 KB]
Registry Restriction Dispute Resolution (RRDRP) [PDF, 135 KB]

Module 6

Application Terms & Conditions [PDF, 267 KB]

Supporting Material

Summary of Changes to the Applicant Guidebook [PDF, 422 KB]
Change Review Process: New gTLD Applicant Guidebook [PDF, 271 KB]

For questions about the New gTLD Program, please email

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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."