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Have an opinion on where ICANN should spend its money?

There is just over a week left on the public comment period for ICANN’s operating plan and budget for next year, and we have received only a few comments so far. We encourage you to provide your input on how the organization should spend its money in FY10.

Why should you bother?

Because ICANN is responsible for the expenditure of tens of millions of dollars in the interests of the Internet community and the Internet infrastructure itself.

Many times a year ICANN is asked to explain its spending decisions. Each time we point to the Strategic Plan and Operating Plan processes to explain that the community itself has significant input how ICANN spends its money and on what. For the past two years, we have followed a process that allows over four months for the public to comment on how ICANN spends the budget.

This public comment period that will close on Thursday 30 April is the last time you will be able to provide input that will have a significant impact on next year’s budget. Per ICANN’s bylaws, we will post a draft of the FY10 Budget by 17 May. Then there will also be an opportunity to post your comments on the draft before the final FY10 Operating Plan and Budget is put before the Board for approval at the Sydney meeting in June.

What’s so special about FY2010 for ICANN?

The next year is especially significant for ICANN and the community because it represents the financial plan that has been developed for dealing with the introduction of new generic top-level domains and internationalized domain names.

There has been a significant amount of discussion about the impact that new gTLDs and IDNs may have on ICANN and the Internet itself, and particularly the potential financial impact.

Internally, ICANN has tried to assess what this expansion of the domain space could mean for the organization – and the money received, spent and its allocation is a vital element of that. We will be posting a budget amendment focused purely on the new gTLD rollout several months before the program is launched but the community’s views on where we are currently would be invaluable.

Other significant issues addressed in the Operating Plan and Budget requesting community input include:

  • Is the approach to meetings scaling with the ICANN community’s size and diversity, and work style over time? Should ICANN take action in FY10 to reduce or redirect the substantial expense – both directly by ICANN and indirectly by participants – in three meetings around the world?
  • As ICANN grows to support application processing for the new gTLD program, what is the best way to staff (hire vs. outsource) and what are the appropriate geographic locations for this effort?
  • How does the community want to explicitly prioritize work such that the costs to support additional work don’t just grow?
  • How can ICANN better report on and measure the effectiveness of many activities such as outreach and policy development, so as to allow these areas to be tuned/improved?
  • What other ideas does the community have for prioritization or cost reduction consistent with the Strategic Plan goals?

If you have views on these or another other parts of the budget, please do review the Operating Plan and Budget and email us your comments within the next 10 days.

All the information you need should be available on the public comment webpage here:

Thank you

Kevin Wilson
Chief Financial Officer, ICANN


    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."