Difference between revisions of "New gTLD Program"

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* [[Kuo-Wei Wu]] (Member)
* [[Kuo-Wei Wu]] (Member)
* [[Thomas Roessler]] (Non Voting Liaison)
* [[Thomas Roessler]] (Non Voting Liaison)
==Path to Implementation==
: ''Read more: [[Batching]]''
After the failed [[Digital Archery]] program, as a means to batch or meter the applications to proceed towards implementation at a rate of 1,000 new gTLDs per year, ICANN still needed a system. On October 10, 2012, ICANN announced that it had designed a metering program to determine the order in which applicants would proceed towards implementation, and it would be a manual draw.<ref>[http://www.icann.org/en/news/announcements/announcement-2-10oct12-en.htm Announcement, ICANN.org]</ref> A chance-based process such as this had initially been avoided due to California's lottery laws, which apply to ICANN as it is headquartered in California. The organization applied for a non-profit, "fundraising" exemption permit in order to be allowed to run the lottery system. Lottery tickets will cost $100. The number pulled in the draw would determine the order in which applications proceed, first with the release of their Initial Evaluation, and then with their potential contention or formal objections, [[GAC]] or otherwise. Applicants that pass the Initial Evaluation and have no other outstanding issues can elect to go directly on to signing the general [[Registry Agreement]], or to negotiate a different agreement with [[ICANN]].<ref>[http://www.icann.org/en/news/announcements/announcement-2-10oct12-en.htm Announcement 2 10Oct12, ICANN.org]</ref>
The lottery will be held in mid-December, 2012. ICANN estimated that this should speed up the implementation of new gTLDs; new gTLDs will be released beginning in the second quarter of 2013, rather than the earlier estimate of the fourth quarter of 2013/first quarter of 2014. Initial evaluation results will be released at a rate of about 150 per week starting in March, 2013. Contracts and pre-delegation testing will be done at a rate of about 20 per week, which allows for about 1,000 new gTLDs to be introduced in any given year. [[IDN]] new gTLD applications will be given priority in the process; ICANN has explained that this is in the interest of better diversifying the Internet internationally.<ref>[http://domainincite.com/10729-new-gtld-winners-will-be-decided-by-lottery-after-all New gTLD Winners Will be Decided by Lottery After All, DomainIncite.com]</ref>
==See also==
==See also==
* [[New gTLD Resources]] - a comprehensive list of gTLD service providers
* [[New gTLD Resources]] - a comprehensive list of gTLD service providers

Revision as of 18:38, 16 October 2012

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The New gTLD Program is a current program to add an unlimited number of new gTLDs to the root zone. The program's goal is to enhance competition, innovation, and consumer choice.[1] The first application round started on January 12th, 2012, and ended on May 0, 2012, during which time applicants applied via the TLD Application System (TAS) to run the registry for the TLD that they choose. The application window was supposed to close on April 12th, but due to a glitch in the TAS system the system was shut down for a period of time before it reopened for a one week window to allow applicants to finish using the system.

Types of new gTLDs include Brand TLDs, Community TLDs, IDN TLDs, and GeoTLDs.

ICANN has been working on adding new extensions for years, and the current "new" gTLD program is actually the 4th round of gTLD expansion. The prior rounds were limited and specific: in 2000 there was a "proof of concept round", a round of sTLDs in 2003, and an ongoing process to introduce IDN ccTLDs.[2]

In April, 2012, after closure of registration for the ICANN New gTLD Program, it was revealed that there were 1,268 applicants in the program.[3]

On June, 13th ("Reveal Day"), it was announced that there were 1,930 applications: 84 of these were community applications, 116 are for IDNs, and 230 of the applications have one or more applicant and will thus go through string contention processes. This means the first round of the new gTLD program could create a maximum of 1,409 new TLDs.[4]

At ICANN 45 in Toronto, Canada, in October 2012, Kurt Pritz provided some updates on the new gTLD program.

  • GAC Early Warnings should be expected shortly after the close of the meeting.
  • No contracts or delegations will be made before the next ICANN meeting, in Beijing.
  • Seven applicants have withdrawn their applications, zero objections have been filed in the objection process, and there have been 127 change requests. Of those change requests, 29 have been approved, 84 are in review, and 14 require follow-up with applicants.
  • String similarity will be analyzed in November.
  • The geographic names review was currently being analyzed, and announcements were expected on November 26th.
  • The Clarifying Questions test pilot had been run, with questions and survey having been sent on August 31 to various applicants, and responses due on September 17. The following stats were received: 72 percent of the respondents said the 6000 character limit was enough to answer the questions; more than half of respondents, 61 percent, said the financial and technical CQs were clear; some of the feedback included using bullet points instead of paragraphs, and for ICANN to disclose current scores and provide sample LOC and answers that meet requirements; and more than half said that two weeks was not enough time to respond to the CQs.
  • Applicants to the Applicant Support Program were currently being analyzed by a five-member panel.
  • EBERO, the emergency back-end registry operator, was currently being developed by ICANN. They are planning for there to be three or four EBEROs to represent North America, Europe and Asia.[5]
See specific applicant information:
Generic Applications &#151; Geographic Applications &#151; Brand Applications &#151; IDN Applications


After the results of the 2000 and 2003 expansions of new gTLDs, a Policy Development Process in connection with the introduction of new gTLDs was developed by the Generic Names Supporting Organization (GNSO), which lasted from 2005 until 2007. During this Policy Development Process, the GNSO conducted extensive and detailed consultations with all constituencies within the ICANN global internet community. In 2008, 19 Specific Policy Recommendations were adopted by the ICANN Board for the implementation of new gTLDs, which describe the specifics of allocation and the contractual conditions. ICANN involved the global internet community in an open, inclusive and transparent implementation process to comment, review and provide their input toward creating the Applicant Guidebook for New gTLDs. The protection of intellectual property, community interests, consumer protection, and DNS stability were addressed during the process. Different versions and multiple drafts of the Applicant Guidebook were released in 2008. By June 2011, the ICANN Board launched the New gTLD Program, at the same time approving the New gTLD Applicant Guidebook.[6] The Board announced the possibility of a 9th version of the Guidebook in January 2012, but the industry speculated that there was little chance that the changes would be more than clarification, as opposed to new rules and policies.[7] The 9th version was released at the same time the application window opened, and as expected most of the changes were minor. One major change in the 9th version was greater power given to the Governmental Advisory Committee in forcing the ICANN Board to manually review any application that the GAC finds problematic. Exactly how many oppositions within the GAC would be necessary to cause Board consultation is vague, but it could be as few as one nation's objection. This change was made following a letter from U.S. Government Secretary Larry Strickling, which noted that the GAC would have the power to create new procedure after reviewing the entire pool of applications; that letter is further detailed below.[8]

Application Process

Application System

Main article: TAS

Applicant Support Program

Main article: ASP

The Applicant Support Program (ASP) is a program that was conceptualized by the Joint Applicant Support Working Group (JASWG) in order to provide a discount for needy gTLD applicants to ensure worldwide accessibility and competition within the New gTLD Program. Acceptance to the program reduces the application fee from $185,000 to $47,000.[9]

Entities interested in the ASP had three options:[10]

  1. Access to pro bono services for startup gTLD registries through the Applicant Support Directory- New gTLD applicants, particularly from developing countries, may avail financial and technical information or assistance from members of the ICANN community who provide financial or non-financial pro-bono services.
  2. Apply for financial assistance- Reduced evaluation fees will be provided to qualified applicants
  3. The Applicant Support Fund- A $2,000,000 seed fund has been set aside by ICANN to help needy applicants.

On February 3, 2012, ICANN announced that it was looking for volunteers to serve as members of the Support Applicant Review Panel (SARP), which was responsible for evaluating if a new gTLD applicant was qualified to avail financial assistance through the ASP. [11]

The list of new gTLD Applicants who asked for assistance can be seen here.

Opening of Application Window

The Application System opened on schedule around midnight UTC on Thursday, January 12th, 2012.[12] On January 19, 2012, just a week after ICANN opened the application window for new gTLDs, it reported that 25 companies had created accounts and registered for new gTLDs on the TAS system. This, however, does not indicate how many applications were filed, given that each TAS account can handle up to 50 separate applications. One company, Minds + Machines, disclosed that they had already registered for 20 extensions on behalf of their clients.[13]

TAS Delays and Closing of the Application Window

Public Comment and Objection Period

Batching/Drawing System

Main article: Batching

Different Types of new gTLD Applications

The different types of new gTLD applications:[14]

  • Standard or Generic TLD - under this type of application, the proposed new gTLD is open to the public for registration. The string does not have any restriction. These are mostly generic terms, though some applications for generic terms, most notably by Amazon and Google propose restricting the use of the TLD to solely corporate purposes
  • Community TLD- the proposed new gTLDs under this application are restricted to a specific community with high degree of social awareness. The application should be strongly supported by the community. Examples of community TLDs include: .catholic, .thai, .aarp
  • Geographical TLD- This type of application represents a particular city or region; support of the local government is required for these TLDs, examples include: .nyc, .berlin, .tokyo
  • Brand TLD- companies and organizations will be able to apply for their own TLDs using their brand names and trademarks. For example: .unicef, .motorola, .hitachi, .deloitte


A number of high profile opponents have come out against ICANN and its new gTLD program, including: Association of National Advertisers (ANA), the Coalition Against Domain Name Abuse (CADNA), the Coalition for Responsible Internet Domain Oversight (CRIDO), the National Retail Federation,[15] and others. Major corporations involved with these organizations include: Adidas, Dell, Toyota, Wal-Mart, Kraft Foods, and other prominent American and internationally known brands.[16] ICANN's new gTLD program also recieved negative Op-Eds by the editorial boards of the New York Times and Washington Post.[17][18] ICANN was also the subject of the hearings within the U.S. Congress, detailed below, and consequently received letters from Senators and Congressmen asking them to delay or reevaluate the program. Other government criticism included a petition for delay by the FTC.[19] Many of these critics were not explicitly anti-ICANN, but anti-new gTLDs. The most common complaint came from trademark owners and their lobbying groups, who believed that the new program would create significant costs for them via defensive registrations without adding any value to their marketing and commercial outreach programs. However, some saw this as a result of miseducation given that many trademark protections are built into the new gTLD program. Other concerns, such as those from former ICANN Chair Esther Dyson, were focused on potential confusion for the end-user.[20]

The complaints by ANA, The National Retail Federation, the U.S. Congress, the FTC, and other prominent groups resulted in many Internet commentators and journalists to come out against both ICANN and its new gTLD program. Examples of such material can be found here and here.

New gTLD Senate and House of Representatives Hearings

On December 8, 2011, the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation held a hearing, lobbied for by ANA, regarding to ICANN's new gTLD program. Speakers included Senior Vice President of ICANN, Kurt Pritz; Fiona Alexander, Associate Administrator of the Office of International Affairs at NTIA; Dan Jaffe, Executive Vice President of Government Relations for ANA; Esther Dyson, ICANN's Founding Chairwoman (1998-2000), speaking as an independent investor; and Senior Vice President and General Counsel of the YMCA Angela Williams, speaking on behalf of NPOC.[21] Senate officials present included: Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller (D-WV); Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn), Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.),[22] and Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash).

Sen. Rockefeller stated his support of the new gTLD program, claiming that he believed it was pro-competition and pro-innovation, but that the roll-out should be slower and more cautious. He cited the potential for fraud, consumer confusion, and cybersquatting as massive, requiring a phased implementation.[23]

One of biggest concerns expressed was that companies, including not-for-profits, would have to spend a lot of money to prevent cybersquatting and typosquatting. Dyson argued that the new TLD program "create[s] opportunities for entrepreneurs but [doesn't] really create any value for the economy." Pritz explained that defensive registration will likely not be as necessary as companies believe, as many of the new TLDs will not be big or open enough for cybersquatters to take advantage. Additionally, several new trademark protections had been built into the expansion strategy, making the new TLDs better protected against cybersquatters than those currently available.

Sen. Ayotte expressed concerns that adding significantly more TLDs would create a challenge for law enforcement officials to police websites.

Another major concern, voiced by ANA, was that there was no consensus on the program, and that the date for the application period to open was arbitrary.[24]

In a letter dated December 8th, the same day as the Senate hearing, twenty-eight domain name industry participants wrote to Sen. Jay Rockefeller and Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison to support the new gTLD program. They supported ICANN's argument that the program would be innovative and economically beneficial, and that the program had taken lots of people a long time to develop, hence it had not been rushed.[25]

On December 14, a second hearing was held, hosted by the House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee. Those speaking at this hearing were Fiona Alexander from NTIA, Dan Jaffe from ANA, Kurt Pritz from ICANN, Employ Media CEO Thomas Embrescia, and Joshua Bourne representing CADNA.[26]

The result of the House hearing was the suggestion that the program be delayed until there is a consensus between all relevant stakeholders, made by Rep. Eshoo. Pritz and Alexander came to the defense of ICANN's Multistakeholder Model, arguing that the process had not been rushed. It had taken ICANN seven years to get to the point where all the issues had been discussed and no new issues were being raised, during which time they had consulted all the relevant stakeholders. Alexander made the point that "consensus" does not always mean "unanimity."

CADNA, a long-time opponent of the new gTLD program, also came to the support of ICANN. CADNA's change of heart came about as their sister group, FairWinds Partners, decided to provide new gTLD consultancy services. Bourne praised .xxx's novel trademark protection mechanisms, saying they should be mandatory for all new gTLDs, and claimed that Congress could help in fighting cybersquatters by revising the old US Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act. He did, however, request that ICANN announce dates for subsequent application rounds, in order to relieve the "condition of scarcity" that this uncertainty created.[27]

The following week, the US Congress sent a letter addressed to ICANN President and CEO Rod Beckstrom and Board Chairman Steve Crocker, asking ICANN to delay the new gTLD program. The letter was signed by seventeen Congressmen, lead by Rep. Fred Upton. The letter cited their concern about the significant uncertainty about the process for businesses, non-profit organizations, and consumers. The suggested delay would serve to allow time for these groups to have their concerns alleviated. [28]

There was also a letter sent by two Congressman, Bob Goodlatte and Howard Berman, to the Department of Commerce, in which they asked for a delay to the new gTLD program, and asked a number of questions on the Department's own preparedness and handling of the affair. They asked if ICANN is actually following its Affirmation of Commitments with the Department, and what the Department is doing to ensure that ICANN is following these commitments and protecting American businesses.[29]

In response to all of this, Lawrence Strickling, of the Department of Commerce's National Telecommunications and Information Administration, sent a letter to ICANN chastising it for its poor outreach program and the confusion regarding its new gTLD program. In his letter, addressed to Chairman Steve Crocker, Mr. Strickling urged ICANN to more successfully showcase their new gTLD expansion program, and especially emphasize the number of built-in protections for trademark owners.[30]

Mr. Strickling notes that NTIA has no plan or desire to actually interfere in the process after the 6 years of work and the imminent launch, but he does lament the number of problems that have been created largely by ICANN's poor outreach and education. NTIA identified 3 specific things to address: to educate trademark owners about measures in place allowing them to forego defensive registrations; to immediately implement consumer protections it has already devised; and to generally better educate all stakeholders. However, NTIA did suggest and open up the possibility of adding further protections once the application pool is closed and NTIA, alongside ICANN's GAC, had a chance to review the pool of applicants and reflect on what further steps could be taken in the second level.[31] The full letter can be seen here.

New gTLD Roadshow

In order to draw awareness to the new gTLD program, ICANN CEO Rod Beckstrom embarked on a world tour beginning in September, 2011 and concluding in December.[32] The tour saw him personally visit 16 countries, while other staff and board members visited an additional 22 countries.[33] The publicity was also picked up by major news outlets such as CNN, Al-Jazeera, the BBC, The New York Times, and others; however, some of this coverage was actually showing the program in a negative light. The road show was seen as a success by few outside of the actual organization, as many countries and corporations continued to misunderstand the program or know little to nothing about it at all.[34][35] This percieved failure by those following ICANN was perhaps best underscored by the aforemetioned letter sent by Larry Strickling, of the U.S. Department of Commerce, to ICANN Chair Steve Crocker a mere week prior to the gTLD program's launch in January, 2012, which chastised ICANN's failure to educate major brands and concerned parties.[36]

New gTLDs in China

In March, 2012, the Chinese government announced that it would require all gTLD applicants to apply and receive a permit from the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology before applying to ICANN. Required information includes details on their services, their contingency plans, and their trademark protection and anti-abuse procedures, and other related information. This will be required of any gTLD, with further hurdles in place to receive government support for GeoTLDs.[37]

Second Round of New gTLD Applications

Two months prior to the implementation of the new gTLD program, the Coalition Against Domain Name Abuse (CADNA) requested that ICANN determine and announce a definitive date to implement a second round of new gTLD applications. According to CADNA President, Josh Bourne, a second round will "allow applicants more time to develop more comprehensive plans for utilising new gTLDs, as opposed to obtaining them simply to not miss out." A similar opinion was expressed earlier by Stuart Durham, EMEA sales director of Melbourne IT DBS. He said that some companies felt compelled to apply for their .brand gTLD because they feel that "if they don’t make a decision now, they will have to wait a few years."[38]

CADNA also brought up the request for second round of new gTLD application during the Congressional hearing on the new gTLD expansion program on December 14, 2011.[39]

On February 7, 2012, the ICANN Board approved a resolution to implement a second application window for the new gTLD program. The Board appointed the ICANN CEO to work with the Internet community regarding the work plan and prerequisites needed to implement the second round of applications.[40]

New gTLD Program Committee

On April 10, 2012, the ICANN Board established the New gTLD Program Committee, which shall be responsible for "all legal and decision making authority of the Board related to the new gTLD program" under its charter. However, other responsibilities related to the program that are prohibited from being delegated under Article XII, Section 2 of the ICANN Bylaws are excluded.[41]

Committee Members

See also


  1. About the New gTLD Program icann.org
  2. Watch ICANN Approve Some New gTLDs, DomainIncite.com
  3. ICANN Expects At Least 1268 New gTLD Applications, DomainIncite.com
  4. New gTLDs by the Numbers, TheDomains.com
  5. ICANN 45: New gTLD Overview and Information for Applicants with ICANN CSO Kurt Pritz, thewhir.com
  6. About the New gTLD Program
  7. ICANN Confirms Possible New Applicant Guidebook, DomainIncite.com
  8. GAC Gets more Power to Block Controversial gTLDs, DomainIncite.com
  9. SARP (Support Applicant Review Panel) Process Document, icann.org
  10. New gTLD Applicant Support Program
  11. ICANN Seeks Evaluators for the Support Applicant Review Panel (SARP) - Request for Expressions of Interest (EOI)
  12. ICANN Opens New gTLD Program, DomainIncite.com
  13. 25 companies Register for New gTLDs, DomainIncite.com
  14. New gTLD Application Types
  15. ICANN Facing Growing Pressure Over New Domain Name Plan, NationalJournal.com]
  16. ANA.net
  17. Exapnding Internet Domains, NYTimes.com
  18. What's the .rush, WashingtonPost.com
  19. ICANN, FTC.gov
  20. Testimony of Esther Dyson, Commerce.Senate.gov
  21. US Senate Committee Holds Hearing on ICANN's New TLD Expansion, circleid.com
  22. Senate Implores ICANN to Slow Its Roll but Admits It Can't Do Anything to Stop It, adage.com
  23. Notes from the Senate new gTLDs hearing, domainincite.com
  24. Senate Implores ICANN to Slow Its Roll but Admits It Can't Do Anything to Stop It, adage.com
  25. New gTLD industry pleads with senators
  26. What the House testimonies tell us, dot-nxt.com
  27. Congressmen ask for new gTLDs delay, domainincite.com
  28. Congressmen ask ICANN to delay new gTLDs
  29. Two Congressmen Ask Commerce Department For Delay to New TLDs, DomainNameWire.com
  30. NTIA Letter on gTLD Program Jan 3 2012, ntia.doc.gov
  31. NTIA Letter on gTLD Program Jan 3 2012, ntia.doc.gov
  32. New gTLD Roadshows, Blog.ICANN.org
  33. Twitter Post Dec 23 2011, Twitter.com
  34. ICANN Ombudsman Blog, OmBlog.ICANN.org
  35. New gTLD Outreach Grazes Japan, UrbanBrain.Posterous.com
  36. NTIA Letter on gTLD Program Jan 3 2012, NTIA.doc.gov
  37. China Cracks Down on New gTLD Applicants, DomainIncite.com
  38. International - Call for ICANN to announce second round of gTLD applications
  39. Testimony of Josh Bourne Before the Subcommittee on Communications and Technology of the United States House Energy and Commerce Committee
  40. Reaffirmation of second round of applications in New gTLD Program
  41. Establishment of New gTLD Program Committee