Skip to main content

ICANN50 London – Harnessing the Potential of Business Engagement

Business engagement 750x425 10jul14

First, the numbers: With 3,115 checked-in participants, ICANN 50 in London was the most attended ICANN public meeting to date. The number of private sector attendees broke all previous records as well, with nearly 20% of the checked-in participants (621) identifying themselves as business participants. Around one third of them (210) were newcomers, and many were from renowned companies like Tencent, Samsung, Deutsche Telekom, BMW and Philips. We were pleased to welcome many of these newcomers to a networking reception on the opening day of the meeting.

London's status as a global business hub was a big factor behind these numbers, but the work of ICANN's Business Engagement team also helped. Key to these efforts has been collaboration with the Generic Names Supporting Organization's Commercial Stakeholder Group (CSG) constituencies to produce outreach events and materials around the ICANN meetings.

One example is our regular pre-meeting webinar for business newcomers. Such webinars, first piloted for ICANN48 in Buenos Aires, offer an opportunity to introduce new private sector participants to topics that will be discussed during the week and to give tips on how to navigate the ICANN meeting. These webinars, with over 360 viewers to date, also provide a chance to showcase regional representatives from the Business Constituency (BC), the Intellectual Property Constituency (IPC), and the Internet Service Providers and Connectivity Providers Constituency (ISPCP), as well as ICANN staff.

The next webinar will take place in early October. Here is a link to our pre-ICANN50 webinar recording:

Additionally, during ICANN's Singapore meeting in March we asked CSG constituencies representatives to record a series of short videos aimed at explaining the role of the their constituencies and the value proposition for a newcomer to join.

The first videos, focused on the BC, can be found on the ICANN YouTube page and feature:

More videos will follow shortly. Next up will be the IPC.

A third business engagement initiative is the ICANN Business Digest. It is a post-meeting publication in multiple languages that seeks to provide an overview of meeting developments and topics of interest to the business community in newcomer-friendly language. The next edition will be issued on our SlideShare page in the next few days, and past editions are available here.

Finally, we have our social media spaces that we use to keep our followers informed about ICANN related issues relevant to the private sector, and to cover related events: @ICANN4biz on Twitter and "ICANN for Business" on LinkedIn. We're pleased to announce that during ICANN 50 we passed the 800 followers mark on Twitter, one year after we launched the platform during ICANN 47 in Durban.

We are grateful for the support of our community partners and hope that these efforts, combined with other traditional outreach activities like newsletters, factsheets, and catered events during ICANN meetings will help private sector participants navigate the ICANN model and encourage their active participation.

Riccardo Ruffolo is an Analyst for the Global Stakeholder Engagement team.


    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."