Generic Names Supporting Organization

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The Generic Names Supporting Organization (GNSO) brings together smaller stakeholder groups, which in turn bring together constituencies and other groups, together into one Supporting Organization to develop policies, form consensus, and make recommendations related to gTLDs to the ICANN Board.[1] This body was previously known as the Domain Name Supporting Organization (DNSO), which it replaced in 2003.


The main objective of the GNSO is to keep gTLDs operating in a fair and orderly manner across the Internet, while promoting innovation and competition. Some examples of the types of issues that the GNSO face are:

  • During the registration of a domain name, what type of services must the registrar provide?
  • If the registrant forgets to renew the domain name, and lets it to expires, how can the domain name be recovered?
  • What happens if someone registers a domain name that is very similar to another domain name?

Stakeholder Groups/Constituencies

Four Stakeholder Groups appoint 18 individuals to the GNSO council. Two appointments are also made by the ICANN's Nominating Committee. Certain Stakeholder groups, like the commercial one, also delegate appointments to their constituencies.

GNSO Council

Organizational Structure of the GNSO Coucnil(Image from
The GNSO Council consists of 23 members, 20 of which are full voting members; they come from a variety of different regions and represent the aforementioned Stakeholder Groups and Constituencies involved in ICANN's multi-stakeholder model. James Bladel is its current chair.

Members Include:

GNSO Council


  • Ben Fuller - ccNSO Liaison, Africa - Non-Voting, Non-Member


Contracted Parties House

Registry Stakeholder Group

Registrar Stakeholder Group

Non-Contracted Parties House

Commercial Stakeholder Group

Commercial and Business Users - Business Constituency

Intellectual Property Interests - Intellectual Property Constituency

ISP Interests - ISP Constituency

Non-Commercial Stakeholder Group

GNSO Development Process

The GNSO is the primary engine within the ICANN community for developing, recommending changes, and making modifications to generic top-level domain policies. The GNSO aims to identify ways to improve the inclusiveness and representativeness of its work while increasing its effectiveness and efficiency.

An important GNSO improvement was the development of recommendations for the new GNSO policy development process. The ICANN Board launched a set of recommendations for improving the effectiveness of the GNSO in June, 2008. These recommendations were related to GNSO activities, operations and structure.

GNSO Improvements

The main areas of GNSO improvements which were approved by the Board, and are being implemented by the GNSO, are classified into five main categories:

  1. The creation of a Working Group Model
  2. Revising the PDP (Policy Development process)
  3. The restructuring of GNSO Council
  4. Communication improvement and a better coordination between ICANN structures
  5. Improving constituency procedures [3]

Implementation of URS

In September 2012, ICANN senior executive Kurt Pritz sent a public email to GNSO Council Chairman Stephane Van Gelder advising him that URS implementation could begin after a year of delay. Implementing URS included a pair of open meetings in Fall 2012, including one at ICANN 45 in Toronto. ICANN acknowledged the role played by the GNSO Council in developing and approving the model and said they were willing to "work in whichever way the GNSO wishes to proceed".[4]

ICANN Supporting Organizations

Apart from GNSO, there are other SO's (supporting organizations) and advisory committees which help ICANN to fulfill its objectives. They include: