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New gTLDs – Competition, Consumer Trust and Consumer Choice Review Team: ICANN59 Update and Next Steps

The Competition, Consumer Trust and Consumer Choice Review Team (CCTRT) held two days of face-to-face meetings during ICANN59 in Johannesburg. The team met with a subset of the ICANN Board and a number of ICANN stakeholder groups to deliver updates on the Review Team's current progress and reaction to public comments received on their draft report.

What were the Three Major Achievements of this Meeting?

The Review Team:

  1. Analyzed the results of the Domain Name System (DNS) Abuse Intermediate Report following a presentation by the report's authors, which will be incorporated into a dedicated new section of the CCT-RT report, as appropriate.
  2. Agreed to issue any new sections of the report for public comment.
  3. Developed and reached consensus on a methodology to update the draft report.

Key Findings of the DNS Abuse Study Intermediate Report Presented to the CCT-RT at ICANN59

  • Abuse counts—or absolute number of abused domains—show relatively constant levels of technical abuse in legacy gTLDs and an upward trend of abuse in new gTLDs. This includes malware hosting, botnet command and control, high volume spam, and phishing.
  • With some exceptions and spikes, overall abuse rates in new gTLDs, which are based on an “abused domains per 10,000" ratio, tend to be lower than in legacy gTLDs. Abuse rate trends in new and legacy gTLDs appear to be converging to similar levels by the end of 2016, which suggests that cybercriminals may be migrating to new gTLDs.
  • Spam rates in new gTLDs surpassed spam rates in legacy gTLDs in mid-2015 and continue to rise. Spam rates in legacy gTLDs have remained relatively stable.
  • Privacy and proxy service-associated domains do not appear to correlate with abnormally high levels of abuse.
  • Based on registrar location, the United States and China tend to be associated with the highest absolute amounts of abuse. This is due in part to the fact that more registrars are headquartered in those countries. When the rate of abuse is calculated, Gibraltar takes a disproportionately high place in the rankings.

The final version of the DNS Abuse Study is scheduled to be delivered in early August 2017.

What are next steps for the Review Team?

The CCT-RT will:

  1. Update the draft report, as appropriate, in light of public comments received. Significant progress was made at ICANN59 to refine the draft recommendations and detail its rationales and success measures.
  2. Work on building new sections of the report that incorporate results of the DNS Abuse Study, as appropriate. The Review Team plans to issue these new sections of its report for public comment in August 2017.

The CCT-RT aims to send its final report to the ICANN Board of Directors prior to ICANN60.


    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."