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ICANN Acronyms and Terms

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Advisory Committee

An Advisory Committee is a formal advisory body made up of representatives from the Internet community to advise ICANN on a particular issue or policy area. Several are mandated by the ICANN Bylaws and others may be created as needed. Advisory committees have no legal authority to act for ICANN, but report their findings and make recommendations to the ICANN Board.

Affirmation of Commitments Reviews

The Affirmation of Commitments contains specific provisions for periodic review of four key ICANN objectives. These reviews provide a mechanism to assess and report on ICANN's progress toward fundamental organizational objectives; they are: 1) Ensuring accountability, transparency and the interests of global Internet users; 2) Preserving security, stability and resiliency of the DNS; 3) Promoting competition, consumer trust and consumer choice; and 4) WHOIS policy.

AfriNICThe African Network Information Center

AfriNIC is a Regional Internet Registry (RIR), and is a non-profit membership organization responsible for the administration and registration of Internet Protocol (IP) addresses in the Africa region.

ALACAt-Large Advisory Committee

ICANN's At-Large Advisory Committee (ALAC) is responsible for considering and providing advice on the activities of the ICANN, as they relate to the interests of individual Internet users (the "At-Large" community). ICANN, as a private sector, non-profit corporation with technical management responsibilities for the Internet's domain name and address system, will rely on the ALAC and its supporting infrastructure to involve and represent in ICANN a broad set of individual user interests.

On 31 October 2002, the ICANN Board adopted New Bylaws that establish the ALAC and authorize its supporting At-Large organizations. (Article XI, Section 2(4) of the New Bylaws.) The New Bylaws, which are the result of ICANN's 2002 reform process, went into effect on 15 December 2002. ALAC is to eventually consist of ten members selected by Regional At-Large Organizations, supplemented by five members selected by ICANN's Nominating Committee. To allow the ALAC to begin functioning immediately, the Transition Article of the Interim Bylaws provides for the Board to appoint ten members (two from each of ICANN's five regions) to an Interim ALAC.

Underpinning the ALAC will be a network of self-organizing, self-supporting At-Large Structures throughout the world involving individual Internet users at the local or issue level. The At-Large Structures (either existing organizations or newly formed for this purpose) will self-organize into five Regional At-Large Organizations (one in each ICANN region – Africa, Asia-Pacific, Europe, Latin America/Caribbean, and North America). The Regional At-Large Organizations will manage outreach and public involvement and will be the main forum and coordination point in each region for public input to ICANN.

APNICThe Asia Pacific Network Information Centre

APNIC is a Regional Internet Registry (RIR), and is a non-profit membership organization responsible for the administration and registration of Internet Protocol (IP) addresses in the Asia-Pacific region, including Japan, Korea, China, and Australia.

ARINAmerican Registry for Internet Numbers

ARIN is a Regional Internet Registry (RIR), and is a non-profit membership organization established for the purpose of the administration and registration of Internet number resources — including Internet Protocol (IP) addresses and Autonomous System Numbers — in Canada, many Caribbean and North Atlantic islands, and the United States. ARIN also develops consensus-based policies and facilitates the advancement of the Internet through information and educational outreach.

ASOAddress Supporting Organization

The ASO advises the ICANN Board of Directors on policy issues relating to the allocation and management of Internet Protocol (IP) addresses. The ASO selects two Directors for the ICANN Board.


In the new gTLD registry agreement, an assignment is defined as either a direct or indirect change of control of the registry operator ("Change of Control") or any subcontracting arrangement that relates to any Critical Function (as identified in Section 6 of Specification 10) for the TLD (a "Material Subcontracting Arrangement").

Autonomous System ("AS") Numbers

AS numbers are globally unique identifiers for network operators and are used to allow these operators to exchange dynamic routing information. Each autonomous system is a group of Internet connected devices having a single clearly defined routing policy. ICANN coordinates AS numbers as part of the IANA functions.


Bottom-up Processes

A fundamental principle of ICANN's decision-making processes is that policy analysis and decisions progress from a stakeholder level (made up of directly affected parties, Internet users, companies and anyone else who wishes to participate in the process) to the ICANN Board level. The process provides the opportunity for open and equal participation at all levels, as practical and possible.

BRGBrand Registry Group

The Brand Registry Group (BRG) is an association of companies who share the goal of empowering Brand gTLDs in the domain name industry. The BRG's purpose is to support the collective interests of its members and help them derive maximum value from their Brand gTLD. The BRG is an Associate Member of the Registry Stakeholder Group (RySG).


ccNSOThe Country-Code Names Supporting Organization

The Country Code Names Supporting Organisation (ccNSO) is a body within the ICANN structure created for and by ccTLD managers. Since its creation in 2003, the ccNSO has provided a forum for country code Top Level Domain (ccTLD) managers to meet and discuss topical issues of concern to ccTLDs from a global perspective. The ccNSO provides a platform to nurture consensus, technical cooperation and skill building among ccTLDs and facilitates the development of voluntary best practices for ccTLD managers. It is also responsible for developing and recommending global policies to the ICANN Board for a limited set of issues relating to ccTLDs, such as the introduction of Internationalised Domain Name ccTLDs (IDN ccTLDs).

Membership in the ccNSO is open to all ccTLD managers responsible for managing an ISO 3166 country-code top-level domain.

ccTLDCountry Code Top Level Domain

Two letter domains, such as .uk (United Kingdom), .de (Germany) and .jp (Japan) (for example), are called country code top level domains (ccTLDs) and correspond to a country, territory, or other geographic location. The rules and policies for registering domain names in the ccTLDs vary significantly and ccTLD registries limit use of the ccTLD to citizens of the corresponding country.

Some ICANN-accredited registrars provide registration services in the ccTLDs in addition to registering names in .biz, .com, .info, .name, .net and .org, however, ICANN does not specifically accredit registrars to provide ccTLD registration services.

For more information regarding registering names in ccTLDs, including a complete database of designated ccTLDs and managers, please refer to

Change of Control

A direct or indirect change of control of a registry operator is one type of assignment identified in the new gTLD registry agreement. This can involve a change in the registry operator or a change in the person or entity controlling the registry operator. Control means the possession, directly or indirectly, of the power to direct or cause the direction of the management or policies of a person or entity, whether through the ownership of securities, as trustee or executor, by serving as an employee or a member of a board of directors or equivalent governing body, by contract, by credit arrangement or otherwise.

Claims Service

Claims Service is the service name which provides notice to potential domain name registrants that the domain they are seeking to register matches a trademark record of a trademark holder that has been verified by the Trademark Clearinghouse. Registry operators must offer this service during the mandatory Trademark Claims Period and also when they release reserved names.

COIContinued Operations Instrument

The Continuing Operations Instrument (COI) ensures sufficient financial resources are in place to support the continued operation of the critical registry functions related to a new gTLD. Per Specification 8 of the new gTLD Registry Agreement, registry operators shall have a Continued Operations Instrument that provides for sufficient financial resources to cover the five critical registry functions in Section 6 of Specification 10, for a determined time period as defined in Section 1 of Specification 8 of the new gTLD Registry Agreement.


Consensus is a form of decision-making employed by various supporting organizations within ICANN. The method to establish whether one has reached consensus differs per supporting organization, for example, the following method is used in the GNSO:

Full consensus - when no one in the group speaks against the recommendation in its last readings. This is also sometimes referred to as Unanimous Consensus.

Consensus - a position where only a small minority disagrees, but most agree.1

Contracted Parties Advisories

Advisories provide registries and registrars with additional clarification and advice on existing policies and procedures.

Cross-Ownership Interests for Registry Operator

Cross-ownership interests for registry operators: Cross-ownership interests can be identified as any and all: (i) ownership interest registry operator holds in any registrar or reseller of registered names, (ii) ownership interest that a registrar or reseller of registered names holds in the registry operator, and (iii) relationships under common control with, control or controlled by any registrar or reseller of registered names.

CTNCountry & Territory Names

Specification 5, Section 4 of the new gTLD Registry Agreement requires registry operators to reserve certain second-level country and territory domain names. The registry agreement also provides the methods by which registry operators may release second-level country and territory domain names, which are described in detail in the ICANN organization's Guidelines on Releasing Country and Territory Names.

CZDSCentralized Zone Data Service

The Centralized Zone Data Service (CZDS) provides a centralized access point for interested parties to request access to the Zone Files provided by participatingTLDs. The service is the solution for scaling zone data transfer as hundreds of new gTLDs are added to the Internet. Every new gTLD registry operator is required to provide zone data to approved requesters (e.g. law enforcement agents, IP attorneys, researchers) upon technical delegation of its gTLD. New registry operators are provided with instructions for utilizing the Centralized Zone Data Service once a gTLD Registry Agreement has been executed.


DNSDomain Name System

The Domain Name System (DNS) helps users to find their way around the Internet. Every computer on the Internet has a unique address – just like a telephone number – which is a rather complicated string of numbers. It is called its "IP address" (IP stands for "Internet Protocol"). IP Addresses are hard to remember. The DNS makes using the Internet easier by allowing a familiar string of letters (the "domain name") to be used instead of the arcane IP address. So instead of typing, you can type It is a "mnemonic" device that makes addresses easier to remember.

Domain Name Resolvers

Scattered across the Internet are thousands of computers – called "Domain Name Resolvers" or just plain "resolvers" – that routinely cache the information they receive from queries to the root servers. These resolvers are located strategically with Internet Service Providers (ISPs) or institutional networks. They are used to respond to a user's request to resolve a domain name – that is, to find the corresponding IP address.

DRPDispute Resolution Procedures

Settling domain related disputes (without litigation) through ICANN community developed dispute resolution procedures.


EBEROEmergency Back-end Registry Operator

An important innovation of the new gTLD Program, the Emergency Back-end Registry Operator (EBERO) program mitigates risks to the stability and security of the Domain Name System in the event of a new gTLD registry operator's failure.

ERSRExpedited Registry Security Request Process

The Expedited Registry Security Request (ERSR) has been developed to provide a process for gTLD registries who inform the ICANN organization of a present or imminent security incident (hereinafter referred to as "Incident") to its TLD and/or the DNS to request a contractual waiver for actions it might take or has taken to mitigate or eliminate an Incident. A contractual waiver is an exemption from compliance with a specific provision of the Registry Agreement for the time period necessary to respond to the Incident. The ERSR has been designed to allow operational security to be maintained around an Incident while keeping relevant parties (e.g., ICANN organization, other affected providers, etc.) informed as appropriate.


Five-Year Operating Plan

Five Year Operating Plan is a means of planning and executing portfolios of ICANN work in alignment to the strategic objectives and goals articulated in the Strategic Plan. This plan serves as a link between strategy and the one year operating plan and budget, setting out planned outcomes (key success factors), means of measuring progress (key performance indicators), operational risks, dependencies and resources needed to accomplish goals.


GACGovernmental Advisory Committee

The GAC is an advisory committee comprising appointed representatives of national governments, multi-national governmental organizations and treaty organizations, and distinct economies. Its function is to advise the ICANN Board on matters of concern to governments. The GAC will operate as a forum for the discussion of government interests and concerns, including consumer interests. As an advisory committee, the GAC has no legal authority to act for ICANN, but will report its findings and recommendations to the ICANN Board. For further information about the GAC see the GAC website.

2017 Global Amendment to the base New gTLD Registry Agreement

The RySG notified the ICANN organization on 16 July 2014 that it wished to negotiate proposed changes to the new gTLD Registry Agreement pursuant to Section 7.7 of the new gTLD Registry Agreement. Following negotiations between the ICANN organization and the RySG Working Group ("WG"), a 50-day public comment period, and analysis of the public comments by the ICANN organization and the WG, the ICANN organization submitted the proposed changes in the form of a Global Amendment for a vote by applicable registry operators according to the terms of the new gTLD Registry Agreement. After reaching approval by applicable registry operators on 10 April 2017, the ICANN Board approved the Global Amendment on 18 May 2017. The ICANN organization issued a 60-day notice to applicable registry operators and the 2017 Global Amendment became effective 31 July 2017.

GNSOGeneric Names Supporting Organization

The GNSO is the successor to the responsibilities of the Domain Name Supporting Organization (DNSO; see below) that relate to the generic top-level domains.

The GNSO is the body of six constituencies, as follows: the Commercial and Business constituency, the gTLD Registry constituency, the ISP constituency, the non-commercial constituency, the registrar's constituency, and the IP constituency.

gTLDGeneric Top Level Domain

Most TLDs with three or more characters are referred to as "generic" TLDs, or "gTLDs". They can be subdivided into two types, "sponsored" TLDs (sTLDs) and "unsponsored TLDs (uTLDs), as described in more detail below.

In the 1980s, seven gTLDs (.com, .edu, .gov, .int, .mil, .net, and .org) were created. Domain names may be registered in three of these (.com, .net, and .org) without restriction; the other four have limited purposes.

Over the next twelve years, various discussions occurred concerning additional gTLDs, leading to the selection in November 2000 of seven new TLDs for introduction. These were introduced in 2001 and 2002. Four of the new TLDs (.biz, .info, .name, and .pro) are unsponsored. The other three new TLDs (.aero, .coop, and .museum) are sponsored.

Generally speaking, an unsponsored TLD operates under policies established by the global Internet community directly through the ICANN process, while a sponsored TLD is a specialized TLD that has a sponsor representing the narrower community that is most affected by the TLD. The sponsor thus carries out delegated policy-formulation responsibilities over many matters concerning the TLD.

A Sponsor is an organization to which is delegated some defined ongoing policy-formulation authority regarding the manner in which a particular sponsored TLD is operated. The sponsored TLD has a Charter, which defines the purpose for which the sponsored TLD has been created and will be operated. The Sponsor is responsible for developing policies on the delegated topics so that the TLD is operated for the benefit of a defined group of stakeholders, known as the Sponsored TLD Community, that are most directly interested in the operation of the TLD. The Sponsor also is responsible for selecting the registry operator and to varying degrees for establishing the roles played by registrars and their relationship with the registry operator. The Sponsor must exercise its delegated authority according to fairness standards and in a manner that is representative of the Sponsored TLD Community.

gTLD Registry Continuity

The ICANN organization has developed a gTLD Registry Continuity Framework in collaboration with experienced community members to ensure protection of existing registrants and confidence in the DNS.


HTGRegistry Services How to Guides

Registry Services How to Guides (HTG) are designed to instruct and assist registry operators with the process steps required for notifying the ICANN organization of updates that need to be made to approved registry services.


IANAInternet Assigned Numbers Authority

ICANN has performed the IANA (Internet Assigned Numbers Authority) Functions on behalf of the global Internet community since 1998. The IANA functions have historically included: the maintenance of the registry of technical Internet protocol parameters; the administration of certain responsibilities associated with Internet DNS root zone and the allocation of Internet numbering resources.

ICANNThe Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is an internationally organized, non-profit corporation that has responsibility for Internet Protocol (IP) address space allocation, protocol identifier assignment, generic (gTLD) and country code (ccTLD) Top-Level Domain name system management, and root server system management functions. Originally, the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) and other entities performed these services under U.S. Government contract. ICANN now performs the IANA function. As a private-public partnership, ICANN is dedicated to preserving the operational stability of the Internet; to promoting competition; to achieving broad representation of global Internet communities; and to developing policy appropriate to its mission through bottom-up, consensus-based processes. The DNS translates the domain name you type into the corresponding IP address, and connects you to your desired website. The DNS also enables email to function properly, so the email you send will reach the intended recipient.

Identifier Ecosystem

The term "ecosystem" describes the natural world around us. It can be defined as the network of interactions among organisms and between organisms and their environment. The Internet is an ecosystem, and it is a network of organizations and communities that work together and in their roles.

The Internet Ecosystem is made up of a number of organizations and processes that shape the coordination and management of the global Internet and enable its overall functioning. These organizations include: technology and engineering organizations, network operators, resource management organizations, users, civil society, commercial and non-commercial entities, educators, policy-makers, law enforcement and governments.

Identifier Registration Data/Services

This is a service offered by registries and registrars to provide public access to registration and contact data on domain name registrations This information is often referred to as "WHOIS data. For more information see

IDNsInternationalized Domain Names

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.

IETFInternet Engineering Task Force

The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) is a large open international community of network designers, operators, vendors, and researchers concerned with the evolution of the Internet architecture and the smooth operation of the Internet2. It is open to any interested individual. The IETF develops Internet Standards and in particular the standards related to the Internet Protocol Suite (TCP/IP).

Internet Governance Ecosystem

An interconnected system characterized by a web of relationships among the many institutions, organizations and communities that have roles affecting the operation and use of the Internet. These relationships reflect and recognize responsibilities, roles and dependencies among the various players.

IPInternet Protocol

The communications protocol underlying the Internet, IP allows networks of devices to communicate over a variety of physical links. Each device or service on the Internet has at least one IP address that uniquely identifies it from other devices or services on the Internet. An IP address is the numerical address and DNS naming uses user-friendly names to locate the devices and services.


There are two versions of Internet Protocol in popular use: version 4 (IPv4) and version 6 (IPv6).

  • IPv4 was developed in the early 1980s. It has capacity of just over four billion IP addresses, almost all of which have now been allocated to Internet service providers and users. An IPv4 address looks like this:
  • IPv6 is the next generation of IP, with a 128-bit address space, providing 340 undecillion addresses. An IPv6 address looks like this: 2001:0db8::53.

While the intention is for IPv6 to surpass IPv4 as the commonly used system, this process is ongoing. Adoption is important because IPv4 and IPv6 essentially operate as parallel systems, meaning data cannot be exchanged between these protocols without transition technologies.

ISOCThe Internet Society

The Internet Society is the international organization for global cooperation and coordination for the Internet and its internetworking technologies and applications. ISOC membership is open to any interested person.

ISPInternet Service Provider

An ISP is a company, which provides access to the Internet to organizations and/or individuals. Access services provided by ISPs may include web hosting, email, VoIP (voice over IP), and support for many other applications.


LACNICLatin American and Caribbean Internet Addresses Registry

LACNIC is a Regional Internet Registry (RIR) for Latin America and the Caribbean.

LRPLimited Registration Period

A Limited Registration Period is any registration period between the end of the Sunrise Period and the start of General Registration. An LRP by definition is a registration period in which the registry operator has imposed additional registration restrictions beyond the registration policies for the TLD's general registration, thus an LRP cannot occur at the same time as the Claims Period / General Registration. Any registration during an LRP must be subject to the Claims Services in the same manner as registrations registered or allocated during the Trademark Claims Period.


Monthly Registry Reports

Per Specification 3 of the new gTLD Registry Agreement, registry operators shall provide one set of monthly reports per gTLD. Monthly reports shall consist of data that reflects the state of the registry at the end of the month (UTC).

MSAMaterial Subcontracting Arrangement

A Material Subcontracting Arrangement is defined as any subcontracting arrangement that relates to any Critical Function (as identified in Specification 10, Section 6 of the new gTLD registry agreement) for the TLD. A change to a Material Subcontracting Arrangement refers to a change to any back-end registry operator (also known as a back-end service provider or a Registry Service Provider), which is defined by the Registry Transition Process as an organization contracted by a registry operator to run one or more of the Critical Functions of a gTLD registry and includes service providers such as DNS providers.

Multistakeholder Approach

The Multistakeholder Approach is an organizational framework or structure for governance and policymaking which aims to bring together all stakeholders to collaborate and participate in the dialogue, decision-making and implementation of solutions to identified problems or goals.

The Multistakeholder Model at ICANN, is comprised of a diverse set of stakeholders with an interest in Internet numbering, naming and protocols from around the world who have organized into various Supporting Organizations, Constituencies and Advisory Committees, and agree to operate in an open, bottom-up, consensus-driven, and transparent manner.


Naming Services portal

The Naming Services Portal is an application built to streamline the way gTLD registry operators and registrars conduct business with the ICANN organization. It has been customized to include community-requested features such as case tracking functionality, multi-user company access and structured workflows.

NETmundial Principles

The NETmundial meeting, which took place in Sao Paolo, Brazil on 23-24 April 2014, was the first multistakeholder-designed event to focus on the future of Internet governance. NETmundial identified a set of common principles and important values that contribute to an inclusive, multistakeholder, effective, legitimate, and evolving Internet governance framework, and recognized that the Internet is a global resource which should be managed in the public interest.

New gTLD Program

The new gTLD Program is an initiative coordinated by the ICANN organization that is enabling the largest expansion of the domain name system. Via the introduction of new TLDs, the program aims to enhance innovation, competition and consumer choice. Many new safeguards to help support a secure, stable and resilient Internet are also being introduced as a result of the program.


The U.S. Department of Commerce National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) is the Executive Branch agency that is principally responsible for advising the President on telecommunications and information policy issues. NTIA maintains a contract with ICANN for the technical coordination of the Internet's domain name and addressing system.


Operations Steering Committee

The Operations Steering Committee (OSC) coordinates, recommends and reviews changes to certain operational activities of the GNSO and its constituencies with a view to efficient outcomes. These operational activity areas cover GNSO operations, Stakeholder Group and Constituency operations, and communications with GNSO and between GNSO and other ICANN structures.


PDDRPTrademark Post-Delegation Dispute Resolution Procedure

The Trademark Post-Delegation Dispute Resolution Procedure (PDDRP) is intended to cover Trademark post-delegation dispute resolution proceedings generally, and addresses a registry operator's complicity in trademark infringement on the first or second level of a new gTLD.

PDPPolicy Development Process

A set of formal steps, as defined in the ICANN bylaws, to guide the initiation, internal and external review, timing and approval of policies needed to coordinate the global Internet's system of unique identifiers.


Phishing attacks use both social engineering and technical subterfuge to steal consumers' personal identity data and financial account credentials. Social engineering schemes use spoofed emails to lead consumers to counterfeit websites designed to trick recipients into divulging financial data such as credit card numbers, account usernames, passwords and social security numbers.

Hijacking brand names of banks, e-retailers and credit card companies, phishers often convince recipients to respond. Technical subterfuge schemes plant crimeware onto PCs to steal credentials directly, often using Trojan keylogger spyware. Pharming crimeware misdirects users to fraudulent sites or proxy servers, typically through DNS hijacking or poisoning.

PICDRPPublic Interest Commitment Dispute Resolution Procedure

The Public Interest Commitment Dispute Resolution Procedure (PICDRP) addresses complaints that a registry operator may not be complying with the Public Interest Commitment(s) in Specification 11 of its Registry Agreement.

PPSCPolicy Process Steering Committee

The Policy Process Steering Committee (PPSC) reviews and recommends processes used within the GNSO for developing policy, including the use of Working Groups, and recommending any changes.

Protocol Parameter

Protocol parameters are internal identifiers that ensure computers can talk to and understand each other. With regard to the IANA functions done by ICANN, the protocol parameters management function involves maintaining many of the codes and numbers used in Internet protocols. This is done in coordination with the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF).


QLPQualified Launch Program

The Qualified Launch Program is intended to provide a mechanism for registry operators to register a limited number of names to third parties to promote their TLDs prior to the Sunrise Period.


RARegistry Agreement

The Registry Agreement (RA) is a contract between the ICANN organization and the accredited registry operator of a designated top-level domain (TLD). The agreement defines the rights, obligations, and provisions for the registry operator to operate the TLD.

Regional Engagement Activities

ICANN's Global Stakeholder Engagement team interacts with stakeholders on a regional basis, in support of the regional engagement strategies, by participating in events or contributing to greater education, awareness and understanding for stakeholders in ICANN processes. These activities may take many forms, such as conferences or workshops, specialized trainings or meetings.


Domain names ending with .aero, .biz, .com, .coop, .info, .museum, .name, .net, .org, and .pro can be registered through many different companies (known as "registrars") that compete with one another. A listing of these companies appears in the Accredited Registrar Directory.

The registrar you choose will ask you to provide various contact and technical information that makes up the registration. The registrar will then keep records of the contact information and submit the technical information to a central directory known as the "registry." This registry provides other computers on the Internet the information necessary to send you e-mail or to find your web site. You will also be required to enter a registration contract with the registrar, which sets forth the terms under which your registration is accepted and will be maintained.


The "Registry" is the authoritative, master database of all domain names registered in each Top Level Domain. The registry operator keeps the master database and also generates the "zone file" which allows computers to route Internet traffic to and from top-level domains anywhere in the world. Internet users don't interact directly with the registry operator; users can register names in TLDs including .biz, .com, .info, .net, .name, .org by using an ICANN-Accredited Registrar.

Registry Agreement Termination

Under the new gTLD Registry Agreement, either party may terminate pursuant to certain requirements in the Registry Agreement, including but not limited to the following:
Section 4.3 and its subsections – Termination by the ICANN organization and
Section 4.4 and its subsections – Termination by registry operator.

Registry Operator Name Change Service

If a registry operator changes the name of their organization, and it is not the result of a change of control, the registry operator will need to notify the ICANN organization of the change using the registry operator Name Change service.

Registry Services

Those services that are both: (i) operations of the registry critical to the following tasks: the receipt of data from registrars concerning registrations of domain names and name servers; provision to registrars of status information relating to the zone servers for the TLD; dissemination of TLD zone files; operation of the registry zone servers; and dissemination of contact and other information concerning domain name server registrations in the TLD as required by the Registry Agreement; and (ii) provided by the registry operator as of the Effective Date of the Registry Agreement, as the case may be; other products or services that the registry operator is required to provide because of the establishment of a Consensus Policy (as defined above); (iii) any other products or services that only a registry operator is capable of providing, by reason of its designation as the registry operator and (iv) material changes to Registry Services within the scope of (i), (ii) or (iii) above.

Reserved Names

Registry operators are required by their respective registry agreements to exclude certain domain names from registration.

Review Mechanisms

A review mechanism is a process to assess how a decision or policy is being put in place. ICANN has a series of review mechanisms mandated in its Bylaws to ensure its accountability and transparency.

RGPRedemption Grace Period

Problems and complaints relating to deletion of domain-name registrations are very common. Businesses and consumers are losing the rights to their domain names through registration deletions caused by mistake, inadvertence, or fraud. Current procedures for correcting these mistakes have proven inadequate. To move toward a solution to these problems ICANN developed the RGP.

How it works:

Now, the "delete" of a domain name (whether inside or outside of any applicable grace period) will result in a 30-day Deleted Name Redemption Grace Period. This grace period will allow the domain name registrant, registrar, and/or registry time to detect and correct any mistaken deletions.

During this 30-day period, the deleted name will be placed on REGISTRY-HOLD, which will cause the name to be removed from the zone. (The domain name will not function/resolve.) This feature will help ensure notice to the registrant that the name is subject to deletion at the end of the RGP, even if the contact data the registrar has for the registrant is no longer accurate.

During the Redemption Grace Period, registrants can redeem their registrations through registrars. Registrars would redeem the name in the registry for the original registrant by paying renewal fees, plus a service charge, to the registry operator. Any party requesting redemption would be required to prove its identity as the original registrant of the name.

After the 30-day period when the domain name can be redeemed, there is a 5-day period when the domain essentially is pending deletion. This timeframe is implemented to facilitate notice to all registrars before a domain is finally deleted.

RIPE and RIPE NCCRéseaux IP Européens

RIPE is an open and voluntary organization, which consists of European Internet service providers. The RIPE NCC acts as the Regional Internet Registry (RIR) for Europe and surrounding areas, performs coordination activities for the organizations participating in RIPE, and allocates blocks of IP address space to its Local Internet Registries (LIRs), which then assign the addresses to end-users.

RIRRegional Internet Registry

There are currently five RIRs: AfriNIC, APNIC, ARIN, LACNIC and RIPE NCC. These non-profit organizations are responsible for distributing and managing IP addresses on a regional level to Internet service providers and local registries.

Root Servers

The root servers contain the IP addresses of all the TLD registries – both the global registries such as .com, .org, etc. and the 244 country-specific registries such as .fr (France), .cn (China), etc. This is critical information. If the information is not 100% correct or if it is ambiguous, it might not be possible to locate a key registry on the Internet. In DNS parlance, the information must be unique and authentic.

Root Zone

The root zone is the central directory for the DNS, which is a key component in translating readable host names into numeric IP addresses. For more information see:

Routing System

Despite the diverse nature of the Internet, network operators need to exchange information with one another to provide the technical routing information that steers Internet connections in an optimal way. This system is based on the use of Internet Protocol addresses and Autonomous System numbers.

RPMRights Protection Mechanism

Rights Protection Mechanisms (RPM) are safeguards that help protect trademark owner's intellectual property rights. RPMs include Trademark Requirements, Uniform Domain-Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP), Uniform Rapid Suspension (URS) and Trademark Post-Delegation Dispute Resolution Procedures (PDDRP).

RRARegistry-Registry Agreement

The Registry-Registrar Agreement (RRA) is a contract between a registry operator and ICANN-accredited registrars that defines the terms by which a registrar will provide Internet domain name registration services for a given TLD.

RRA Amendment Procedure

The Registry-Registrar Agreement (RRA) Amendment Procedure is a process for consideration of proposed bi-lateral amendments to gTLD Registry-Registrar Agreements (RRAs) whereby the registry operator is required to obtain the ICANN organization's approval of such amendments. This process is designed to ensure registrar input (and public input where appropriate) before the ICANN organization approves changes to an RRA.

RRDRPRegistration Restrictions Dispute Resolution Procedure

The Registration Restrictions Dispute Resolution Procedure (RRDRP) is intended to address circumstances in which a community-based new gTLD registry operator deviates from the registration restrictions outlined in its Registry Agreement.

RRIRegistry Reporting Interface

The Registry Reporting Interface (RRI) is one of the interfaces provided by the ICANN organization to registry operators and data escrow agents in order to comply with the reporting provisions detailed in Specification 2 of the new gTLD Registry Agreement.

RRSRegistry Request Service

The online tool for submission of requests for approval of new registry services to the ICANN organization.

RrSGRegistrars Stakeholder Group

The Registrar Stakeholder Group (RrSG) is one of several stakeholder groups within the ICANN community and is the representative body of domain name registrars. The group works to ensure the interests of registrars and their customers are effectively advanced.

RSEPRegistry Services Evaluation Process

The Registry Services Evaluation Process (RSEP) is ICANN's process for evaluating proposed gTLD registry services or contractual modifications for security, stability or competition issues. Further information on RSEP is available at

RSTRegistry System Testing

Registry System Testing (RST) ensures that a registry operator has the capacity to operate a new gTLD in a stable and secure manner, by testing critical registry functions as described in the registry agreement. Testing requirements vary depending on the services a registry operator supports.

RSTEPRegistry Services Technical Evaluation Panel

In the event that the ICANN organization determines a Registry Service Evaluation Policy (RSEP) request might raise significant Stability or Security issues, the ICANN organization will refer the proposal to the Registry Services Technical Evaluation Panel. The Registry Services Technical Evaluation Panel consists of a total of 20 persons expert in the design, management and implementation of the complex systems and standards-protocols utilized in the Internet infrastructure and DNS.

RTPRegistry Transition Processes

A change in the contracting party of a Registry Agreement with the ICANN organization. Examples of circumstances leading to a Registry Transition are: name change of the registry operator, a sale or transfer of the registry operator or the registry agreement, termination of the registry agreement and transfer to another party, etc.

RySGRegistries Stakeholder Group

A member of the Generic Names Supporting Organization (GNSO), the Registries Stakeholder Group (RySG) facilitates communication among gTLD registry operators and conveys the views of the RySG to the GNSO Council, the ICANN Board and other participants in the ICANN community, with emphasis on consensus policies related to interoperability, technical reliability and/or stable operation of the Internet or DNS. The primary role of the RySG is to represent the interests of all registry operators.


SOSupporting Organizations

The SOs are the three specialized advisory bodies that will advise the ICANN Board of Directors on issues relating to domain names (GNSO and CCNSO) and, IP addresses (ASO).

SSACSecurity and Stability Advisory Committee

The President's standing committee on the security and stability of the Internet's naming and address allocation systems. Their charter includes a focus on risk analysis and auditing. SSAC consists of approximately 20 technical experts from industry and academia as well as operators of Internet root servers, registrars, and TLD registries.

SSR — Security Stability & Resiliency

  • Security

    In ICANN's Security, Stability and Resiliency Framework, "security" means the capacity to protect and prevent misuse of Internet unique identifiers.

  • Stability

    In ICANN's Security, Stability and Resiliency Framework, "stability" means the capacity to ensure that the system operates as expected, and that users of the unique identifiers have confidence that the system operates as expected.

  • Resiliency

    In ICANN's Security, Stability and Resiliency Framework, "resiliency" means the capacity of the unique identifier system to effectively withstand/tolerate/survive malicious attacks and other disruptive events without disruption or cessation of service.


A stakeholder has been defined as any individual or group affected by the actions of the organization. Stakeholders at ICANN include Country Code top level domain name registries; generic top-level domain registries and registrars; regional internet registries who manage the regional distribution of Internet number resources including IP address and Autonomous System Numbers; the thirteen root name server operators; commercial interests - including those representing large and small businesses, intellectual property interests and providers of internet and other communications services; noncommercial interests – including noncommercial users and not-for-profit organizations; governmental interests – including national governments, multi-national governmental organizations and treaty organizations, and distinct economies; technical experts from industry and academia; and representatives of Internet users worldwide.

Strategy Panels

The ICANN Strategy Panels convened subject matter experts, thought leaders and industry practitioners to support development of ICANN's strategic and operational plans. Starting in September 2013, there were four Strategy Panels focusing on identifier technology innovation; ICANN's role in the Internet organizations' ecosystem; multistakeholder innovation; and the public responsibility framework. The Strategy Panels completed their work in May 2014.

Sunrise Period

A Sunrise Period is a period of at least 30 days during which trademark holders have an advance opportunity to register domain names corresponding to their marks in connection with the launch of a new gTLD before names are generally available to the public.


Technical Evaluation Panel

Under Section 1.4 of the Registry Services Evaluation Policy (RSEP), "the Registry Services Technical Evaluation Panel" shall consist of a total of 20 persons expert in the design, management and implementation of the complex systems and standards-protocols utilized in the Internet infrastructure and DNS (the "Registry Services Technical Evaluation Panel"). The members of the Registry Services Technical Evaluation Panel will be selected by its Chair. The Chair of the Registry Services Technical Evaluation Panel will be a person who is agreeable to both the ICANN organization and the registry constituency of the supporting organizations then responsible for gTLD registry policies. All members of the Registry Services Technical Evaluation Panel and the Chair shall execute an agreement requiring that they shall consider the issues before the panel neutrally and according to the definitions of Security and Stability.

TLDTop-level Domain

TLDs are the names at the top of the DNS naming hierarchy. They appear in domain names as the string of letters following the last (rightmost) ".", such as "net" in "". The administrator for a TLD controls what second-level names are recognized in that TLD. The administrators of the "root domain" or "root zone" control what TLDs are recognized by the DNS. Commonly used TLDs include .com, .net, .edu, .jp, .de, etc.

TMCHTrademark Clearinghouse

The Trademark Clearinghouse (TMCH) mechanism functions by authenticating information from rights holders and providing this information to registry operators and registrars. Benefits of registering a trademark with the Trademark Clearinghouse include access to Sunrise registration with new gTLD registries and notification from the Trademark Clearinghouse when a domain matching a right holder's trademark has been registered.

TMCH RequirementsTrademark Clearinghouse Requirements

The purpose of the Trademark Clearinghouse (TMCH) is to facilitate the Sunrise Services and Claims Services (collectively, the "Services"). These Trademark Clearinghouse Rights Protection Mechanism Requirements (these "TMCH Requirements") are the rights protection mechanisms related to the Trademark Clearinghouse specified in Section 1 of Specification 7 to the new gTLD Registry Agreement between the ICANN organization and registry operator (as such term is defined therein).

Trademark Claims Period

The Trademark Claims Period follows the Sunrise Period and runs for at least the first 90 days of general registration for a new gTLD. During the Trademark Claims Period, anyone attempting to register a domain name matching a trademark record of a trademark holder that has been verified by the Trademark Clearinghouse will receive a notification displaying the relevant mark information.

Two-Character ASCII Labels

Specification 5, Section 2 of the new gTLD Registry Agreement requires two-character ASCII labels be reserved at the second level. Over a two-year period, members of the Internet community, the ICANN organization, the Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC) and governments, gTLD registry operators and others, worked together to establish a framework permitting the release of these labels. The two-year effort ultimately resulted in multiple authorizations, to release from reservation, the two-character labels.


UDRPUniform Dispute Resolution Policy

All ICANN-accredited registrars follow a uniform dispute resolution policy. Under that policy, disputes over entitlement to a domain-name registration are ordinarily resolved by court litigation between the parties claiming rights to the registration. Once the courts rule who is entitled to the registration, the registrar will implement that ruling. In disputes arising from registrations allegedly made abusively (such as "cybersquatting" and cyberpiracy"), the uniform policy provides an expedited administrative procedure to allow the dispute to be resolved without the cost and delays often encountered in court litigation. In these cases, you can invoke the administrative procedure by filing a complaint with one of the dispute-resolution service providers.

For more details on the UDRP, see the ICANN UDRP page and the FAQs.

Unique Identifier Health

In ICANN's Security, Stability and Resiliency Framework, "unique identifier health" means a state of general functioning of the Internet's unique identifiers that is within nominal technical bounds in the dimensions of coherency, integrity, speed, availability, vulnerability and resiliency.

Unique Identifiers

ICANN and its community coordinate and collaborate on the systems of unique identifiers used on the Internet. There are various types of unique identifiers, with commonly known types including domain names, Internet protocol addresses, autonomous system numbers and port numbers. ICANN seeks to facilitate the security, stability and resiliency of these unique identifiers to enable the proper functioning of the Internet.

URSUniform Rapid Suspension

The Uniform Rapid Suspension System (URS) is a rights protection mechanism that complements the existing Uniform Domain-Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) by offering a lower-cost, faster path to relief for rights holders experiencing the most clear-cut cases of infringement.


W3CWorld Wide Web Consortium

The W3C is an international industry consortium founded in October 1994 to develop common protocols that promote the evolution of the World Wide Web and ensure its interoperability. Services provided by the Consortium include: a repository of information about the World Wide Web for developers and users; reference code implementations to embody and promote standards; and various prototype and sample applications to demonstrate use of new technology.


WHOIS (pronounced "who is"; not an acronym) An Internet protocol that is used to query databases to obtain information about the registration of a domain name (or IP address). The WHOIS protocol was originally specified in RFC 954, published in 1985. The current specification is documented in RFC 3912. ICANN's gTLD agreements require registries and registrars to offer an interactive web page and a port 43 WHOIS service providing free public access to data on registered names. Such data is commonly referred to as "WHOIS data," and includes elements such as the domain registration creation and expiration dates, nameservers, and contact information for the registrant and designated administrative and technical contacts.

WHOIS services are typically used to identify domain holders for business purposes and to identify parties who are able to correct technical problems associated with the registered domain.

WIPOWorld Intellectual Property Organization

WIPO is an intergovernmental organization based in Geneva, Switzerland responsible for the promotion of the protection of intellectual rights throughout the world. It is one of the 16 specialized agencies of the United Nations system of organizations.


Zone Files

TLD Zone Files contain data describing a portion of the domain name space for specific top-level domains. Zone files contain the information needed to resolve domain names to Internet Protocol (IP) numbers. Zone files contain domain names, their associated name server names and the IP addresses for those name servers. Each registry operator updates TLD zone files for its respective TLDs.

1 For those that are unfamiliar with ICANN usage, you may associate the definition of "Consensus" with other definitions and terms of art such as rough consensus or near consensus. It should be noted, however, that in the case of a GNSO PDP originated Working Group, all reports, especially Final Reports, must restrict themselves to the term "Consensus" as this may have legal implications.


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."