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Request for Proposal for Review of Generic Names Supporting Organization (GNSO)

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers ("ICANN") is seeking a provider to conduct an independent review of the Generic Names Supporting Organization (GNSO), as mandated by ICANN's Bylaws.

As part of ICANN's ongoing commitment to its evolution and improvement, Article IV – Section 4 of ICANN's Bylaws contains provisions for "periodic review of the performance and operation of each Supporting Organization, each Supporting Organization Council, each Advisory Committee (other than the Governmental Advisory Committee), and the Nominating Committee."

These periodic reviews present ICANN structures with opportunities for continuous improvement through consistent application of compliance review principles to objectively measure performance relative to specific and quantifiable criteria developed by ICANN based on the unique nature of its structures. The resulting implementation of improvements and the systematic means of measuring performance and validating effectiveness of implementation are of utmost importance to the ongoing legitimacy of ICANN.

The GNSO is the policy-making body responsible for generic top-level domains, such as .COM, .NET, and .ORG. Its members include representatives from generic Top Level Domains (gTLD) registries, gTLD registrars, intellectual property interest, Internet service providers, businesses and non-commercial interests. The GNSO strives to keep gTLDs operating in a fair, orderly fashion across one global Internet, while promoting innovation and competition.

Given the significant increases in the number and nature of the generic Top Level Domains resulting from the recent launch of the New gTLD Program, the upcoming review of the GNSO is of critical importance to the ICANN community. ICANN is planning to start the review on 1 July 2014, with an anticipated duration of 6 months, and is seeking qualified providers to conduct the review in a timely and efficient manner.

For additional information and instructions for submitting responses please see [ZIP, 672 KB].

Activity Dates
RFP published 22 April 2014
Participants to indicate interest in submitting RFP 30 April
Participant proposals due by 13 May
Target for participant presentations (finalists) Week of 19 May (May 19-23)
Target for Final evaluations and selection of vendor (includes contracting and award to participant) 10 June
Board appointment of independent reviewer 26 June
Estimated start of implementation 1 July
Final Report 15 January 2015

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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."