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The Generic Names Supporting Organization 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. 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?
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.
- Non-Commercial Users Stakeholder Group, 6 appointments
- Commercial Stakeholder Group, 6 total appointments coming from constituencies
- Commercial and Business Users Constituency, 2 appointments
- Intellectual Property Interests Constituency, 2 appointments
- Internet Service and Connection Providers Constituency, 2 appointments
- Registrar Stakeholder Group, 3 appointments
- Registry Stakeholder Group, 3 appointments
The GNSO Council consists of 22 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. Stephane Van Gelder is its current chair.
- Jeff Neuman, North America, (December 2010 - Annual Meeting 2012) Vice Chair
- Jonathan Robinson, Europe, (Term ends at ICANN 42)
- Ching Chiao, Asia/Pacific, (December 2010 - Annual Meeting 2012)
- Tim Ruiz, (North America)
- Stephane Van Gelder, (Europe, Term ends after 2012 Annual Meeting) Chair
- Adrian Kinderis, (Asia Pacific)
Nominating Committee Appointee
- Thomas Rickert, (Germany)
Commercial and Business Users - Business Constituency
- Zahid Jamil, (Asia Pacific, Term ends October 2011)
- John Berard, (North America, Term ends at Annual Meeting 2012)
- Wolf-Ulrich Knoben, (Europe, Terms ends at Annual Meeting 2011)
- Jaime Wagner, (Latin America/Caribbean, Term ends at Annual Meeting 2011)
- Rafik Dammak, (Africa)
- William Drake, (Europe)
- Debra Hughes, (North America)
- Wendy Seltzer, (North America)
- Rosemary Sinclair, (Asia Pacific)
- Mary Wong, (Asia Pacific) Vice-Chair
Nominating Committee Appointee
- Olga Cavalli, (Latin America/Caribbean)
Observers & Liaisons
- Han Chuan Lee is ccNSO observer, and is not counted as a member and is non-voting.
- Alan Greenberg is an ALAC liaison, he is counted as a member but is non-voting.
- Carlos Dionisio Aguirre represents Latin America/Caribbean as a full voting member, though he is not directly involved in the Contracted Party House or Non-Contracted Party House.
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.
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:
- The creation of a Working Group Model
- Revising the PDP (Policy Development process)
- The restructuring of GNSO Council
- Communication improvement and a better coordination between ICANN structures
- Improving constituency procedures 
Implementation of URS
In September 2012, ICANN senior executive Kurt Pirtz 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".
ICANN Supporting Organizations
- Address Supporting Organization (ASO)
- Country Code Domain Name Supporting Organization (ccNSO)
- At-Large Advisory Committee (ALAC)
- Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC)