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TLD Application Review Update

On Monday, 2 October 2000 the application period for those seeking to sponsor or operate new TLDs ended. A total of 47 applications were received during the application period. Fourty-four of these applications are still active.

Tasks That Have Been Completed

ICANN has completed the following steps in its review of applications:

  • Acknowledging receipt of applications.
  • Reviewing the applications to ensure they include all the required parts. All applications being considered now have all the required major parts, although some still appear to be missing exhibits, postable HTML versions, etc.
  • Verifying payment of the application fee. Two of the 47 applications submitted were not accompanied by the US $50,000 application fee. These two applications (.number/.tel/.phone and .wap) have been returned.
  • Reviewing confidentiality requests and contacting applicants to notify them of the disposition of the request. One of the 47 applications (.nyc) was withdrawn because the applicant and ICANN did not agree on treatment of confidentiality claims. All other confidentiality claims have been resolved by agreement. In general, ICANN agreed to treat only a very limited portion of application materials as confidential.

Tasks Currently Underway

ICANN is currently involved in the following aspects of the review:

  • Where an application seeks alternative or multiple TLD strings, verifying that it is a single application (i.e. that all parts of the application apply, without significant variation, to all of the strings). Applicants submitting materials that constitute more than one application will be notified in the near future.
  • Completing posting of non-confidential portions of applications on the ICANN web site. We have now posted nearly all of the applications materials, and expect to complete the process in the next few days. Confidentiality claims on a few applications have just been resolved. This has resulted in the applicants withdrawing portions of their applications that they consider confidential but that ICANN has not agreed to treat confidentially. We are working with these applicants to obtain electronic versions of the non-confidential portions of their applications for posting. For several other applications, the electronic versions of some subsidiary files were either not provided or were provided in unusable form. We are correcting these problems as they are identified.
  • Technical, business/financial, and legal review of applications.
  • The web-based public comment forum is currently collecting public comments on the applications. In ten days of operation, over 2000 comments have been submitted.

Adjustments and Elaborations to the Schedule

Based on progress of the process so far, here are a few adjustments and elaboration to the schedule:

  • Extension of First Public Comment Period. We originally scheduled the web-based public comment forum on the application materials to go out of operation on 27 October. Because of the substantial interest in the public comment forum, and the unanticipated delays in completing the posting of all application materials, the forum will continue to be open for comments until 4:00 pm California time (midnight UTC) on Sunday, 5 November 2000.
  • Consultation Mechanism. In the schedule, we set aside 18-21 October for possible in-person or videoconferenced interviews with applicants and other persons in connection with applications. We have found that the applications that have been submitted do a generally good job of explaining the nature of the proposals, and therefore have concluded that real-time interviews are not warranted at this time. We intend to gather the additional information we require by posing specific questions to applicants in e-mail and requesting a written response. The questions and responses will be posted on the web site, except for communications of a strictly clerical nature. We believe this mechanism offers an even greater degree of transparency than the interview mechanism that was originally scheduled.
  • Staff Report. The results of the staff review of the applications will be posted on approximately 8 November 2000. We expect these results to be presented in a detailed report, including an explanation of the goals of the analysis, a detailed statement of how the analysis was performed, identification of those who participated in the review process, summaries of findings as to each application, compilations of comparative data on the applications, observations regarding how the posted criteria for evaluation apply, and other relevant results of the analysis.
  • Second Public Comment Period. A second web-based public comment forum will be established at the time the Staff Report is issued to allow the public to comment on the report. The second forum will also permit persons wishing to make their own comments on the applications to do so.

Legal Claims Concerning TLDs

Recently ICANN has received correspondence from various parties asserting that establishment of particular TLDs would infringe their claimed intellectual property rights. To promote the openness and transparency of the selection process, this correspondence and ICANN's responses have been posted for consideration of the community.

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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."