Skip to main content

Update on Registry Agreement Specification 13

Update on registry agreement specification 13

By Cyrus Namazi
Vice President, Domain Name Services
ICANN Global Domains Division

As reported earlier, Specification 13 to the Registry Agreement was approved by the NGPC on 26 March 2014. Specification 13 provides limited accommodations to registry operators of TLDs that qualify as “.Brand TLDs” and reflects months of discussions on many key issues raised by the community during the public comment forum and other community outreach.

One provision of this specification was the ability of a .Brand registry operator to designate up to three ICANN accredited registrars to serve as the exclusive registrars for their TLD. Implementation of this provision was delayed for 45 days in respect of the GNSO policy Recommendation 19 on the Introduction of New Generic Top-Level Domains. After considering the matter, the GNSO Council found that the proposed provision was inconsistent with Recommendation 19. However, given the unique and specific circumstances the GNSO Council accepted the variation from the original policy recommendation and did not object to the adoption of Specification 13 in its entirety.

As a result, all new gTLD applicants who have applied, or will apply, for Specification 13 and are qualified by ICANN as a .Brand TLD will be entitled to all the provisions of Specification 13.

Additionally, in the event that a .Brand applicant who qualifies for Specification 13 may require additional time for contracting, and satisfies the Applicant Guidebook requirements for an extension of their contracting window, ICANN will consider a request to approve an extension until 12 February 2015 (9 months from when Specification 13 was finalized in its entirety).

I thank the participating members of the community for their involvements and inputs and in particular the GNSO Council for its timely and constructive response in reaching this major milestone.


    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."