The ICANN Supporting Organizations (SOs) serve as the advisory bodies for the ICANN Board of Directors, with the primary responsibility of developing and recommending substantive policies regarding those matters falling within their specific area of interest.
The SOs are three specialized advisory bodies that have the purpose of advising the ICANN Board of Directors on issues related to domain names and IP addresses. In addition to these SOs, ICANN also relies on advice from advisory committees regarding the interests of their stakeholders who are not part of any of the SOs.
The SOs are open to individuals and any type of organization which is able to meet the minimum reasonable qualifications imposed by the ICANN Board. At the same time, each SO can adopt its own participation structures for the effective functioning and administration of its activities.
The main objective of the SOs is to help the promotion for Internet policy development and to encourage diverse international participation related to the Internet's technical management. Each SO names two Directors to the ICANN Board.
The Generic Names Supporting Organization develops policies for gTLDs. It attempts to operate in a fair, orderly manner through the global Internet while still promoting innovation and competition. The GNSO deals with issues related to the registration of a domain name, the services which must be provided by a registrar, and even cases related to the renewal of a domain name.
The Country Code Names Supporting Organization is a body created specifically for ccTLD managers. It was created in 2003 and is a forum for ccTLD managers to meet and discuss various topics of interest, while encouraging technical cooperation between ccTLD managers. The CCNSO is responsible for developing ICANN global policies for issues related to ccTLDs.