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New gTLD Program: Updated Applicant Guidebook Available

ICANN has issued today a new version of the gTLD Applicant Guidebook. The Applicant Guidebook describes the requirements and procedures for submitting applications for new generic top-level domains (gTLDs), as well as the criteria and procedures for evaluation. See http://newgtlds.icann.org/en/about for more information about the New gTLD Program.

The application submission period is now closed, and changes have not been made to the application process. However, in anticipation of the opening of the objection filing period, the relevant information has been updated in the Guidebook.

A summary of the changes can be found at http://newgtlds.icann.org/en/applicants/agb/summary-changes-applicant-guidebook-04jun12-en.pdf [PDF, 121 KB]. The summary provides the text revisions in redline, as well as a description and rationale for the changes.


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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."