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Fourth Update on .org Reassignment Process

This is an update on the status of the evaluation of the eleven applications ICANN received from entities seeking to become the registry operator for the .org top-level domain on 1 January 2003, when VeriSign, Inc. gives up that role. For more information, see the previous updates that were published on 25 July 2002, 4 August 2002, and 21 August 2002.

Applicant Comments on Draft Evaluation Report

Comments from all eleven applicants (as well as some public comments) have been received on the draft evaluation report. The evaluators are currently studying the comments, so that they can make the final evaluation report as comprehensive, accurate, and fair as possible. Because of ambiguities in the comments submitted and conflicts between them, the evaluators have decided that some clarifying questions be directed to the various applicants. These questions and responses from the applicants will be posted on the Questions to .org Applicants page.

To allow time for the applicants to respond to these questions and to reflect those responses in the final evaluation report, the schedule for finalization of the evaluation report has been delayed by nine days, and the remainder of the schedule has been adjusted to allow for that delay. The revised schedule is set forth below.

Schedule for Remainder of Selection Process

To afford applicants time to respond to clarifying questions, and to allow those responses to be factored into the final evaluation report, the schedule has been revised as follows:

4-13 September 2002 - Period for clarifying questions by ICANN and responses by applicants.

14 September 2002 - Based on the comments received through 29 August 2002 and responses to clarifying questions, the preliminary report will be finalized and posted.

15 September-6 October 2002 - Public comment period on finalized evaluation report. Comments should be sent by e-mail to <>. Comments received will be posted for Board and public review.

25 September 2002 - Each applicant is invited to submit by this date a commentary, no more than 5000 words long, on the final evaluation report. The commentaries will be provided to the ICANN Board and posted shortly after they are received.

Early-October 2002 - The ICANN Board will consider the evaluation report at a telephone meeting.

21 October 2002 - Target date for completion of a registry agreement between ICANN and the selected successor operator of the registry for the .org top-level domain.

1 January 2003 - The contracted successor operator will assume responsibility for operation of the .org top-level domain.

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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."