Initial Evaluation

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The Initial Evaluation (IE) is a process that all applications go through as part of the New gTLD Program created by ICANN. The process ensures that the applicants are suited to be approved for delegation to the Root Zone of the DNS. The process was established and outlined in the Applicant Guidebook.[1]

The evaluation is carried out by multiple panels that review separate parts of each application. The Applicant Guidebook outlines the evaluations performed during the Initial Evaluation process: "

  • String Reviews
    • String similarity
    • Reserved names
    • DNS stability
    • Geographic names
  • Applicant Reviews
    • Demonstration of technical and operational capability
    • Demonstration of financial capability
    • Registry services reviews for DNS stability issues

An application must pass all these reviews to pass the Initial Evaluation. Failure to pass any one of these reviews will result in a failure to pass the Initial Evaluation."[1]

There are 3 possible outcomes for applications after going through Initial Evaluation:

  • Pass - The application has satisfied the necessary requirements of the evaluation and can move on to the next step in the program.
  • Eligible for Extended Evaluation - One or more of the panels has not not given a passing score to the application and deems it necessary to provide more information in order to make a decision. After the applicant receives notice that they did not pass IE, they have 15 days to request an Extended Evaluation of their application.
  • Ineligible for Further Review - One or more of the panels decided the application does not meet necessary requirements, and it is not eligible for Extended Evaluation or other review.[2]