Difference between revisions of "New gTLD Program"

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(=Different Types of new gTLD Applications)
(Second Round of New gTLD Applications)
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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.<ref>[http://www.icann.org/en/groups/board/documents/resolutions-07feb12-en.htm#4 Reaffirmation of second round of applications in New gTLD Program]</ref>
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.<ref>[http://www.icann.org/en/groups/board/documents/resolutions-07feb12-en.htm#4 Reaffirmation of second round of applications in New gTLD Program]</ref>
==New gTLD Program Committee==
On April 10, 2012, the ICANN Board established the '''New gTLD Program Committee,''' which shall be responsible in "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 to be delegated by law or under Article XII, Section 2 of the ICANN Bylaws will be excluded.<ref>[http://www.icann.org/en/groups/board/documents/resolutions-10apr12-en.htm Establishment of New gTLD Program Committee]</ref>
===Committee Members===
* [[Cherine Chalaby]] (Chair)
* [[Rod Beckstrom]] (Member)
* [[Chris Disspain]] (Member)
* [[Bill Graham]] (Member)
* [[Erika Mann]] (Member)
* [[Gonzalo Navarro]] (Member)
* [[Ray Plzak]] (Member)
* [[R. Ramaraj]] (Member)
* [[George Sadowsky]] (Member)
* [[Mike Silber]] (Member)
* [[Kuo-Wei Wu]] (Member)
* [[Thomas Reossler]] (Non Voting Liaison)
==See also==
==See also==

Revision as of 15:15, 3 May 2012

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 application round is set to start on January 12th, 2012, and end on April 12th, 2012, during which applicants will apply via the TLD Application System (TAS) to run the registry for the TLD that they choose. 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 on 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. The actual number of applications was not known given that each applicant could apply for 50 extensions with a single account.[3]


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.[4] 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.[5] 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.[6]


  • January 12, 2012: Application window opened.
  • March 29, 2012: Registration for the TAS closes.
  • April 12, 2012: Application window closes.
  • April 13, 2012 - April 30, 2012: ICANN checks all applications for essential completeness.
  • May 1, 2012: All strings, applications, and their applicants will be made public.
  • May 1 - June 30, 2012: Applications are available for public comment.
  • May 1 - approximately December 1, 2012: Formal objections may be made by those with proper ground.
  • June 12, 2012: Initial Evaluation begins.
  • November 12, 2012: Results of the Initial Evaluation (pass/fail) are posted.
  • November 29, 2012: The last day to request Extended Evaluation, should an applicant fail certain reviews of the Initial Evaluation.[7]

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.[8]

Entities interested to take part in the ASP has three options:[9]

  1. Access to pro bono services for startup gTLD registries through the Applicant Support Directory- New gTLD applicant 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.

O February 3, 2012, ICANN announced that it is seeking for volunteers to serve as members of the Support Applicant Review Panel (SARP), who will be responsible in evaluating if a new gTLD applicant is qualified to avail financial assistance through the ASP. [10]

The list of new gTLD Applicant in need of assistance as well as providing support is available here

Opening of Application Window

The Application System opened on schedule around midnight UTC on Thursday, January 12th, 2012.[11] 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.[12]

Different Types of new gTLD Applications

The different types of new gTLD applications:[13]

  • 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. Examples of standard TLDs include: .love, .free, .web. .blog, .shop, .bank
  • 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: .eco, .indigi (indigenous people), .redcross, .gay
  • Geographical TLD- This type of application represents a particular city or region. For example: .africa, .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

Here is a list of New gTLD Applicants


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,[14], and others. Major corporations involved with these organizations include: Adidas, Dell, Toyota, Wal-Mart, Kraft Foods, and other prominent American and internationally known brands.[15] ICANN's new gTLD program also recieved negative Op-Eds by the editorial boards of the New York Times and Washington Post.[16][17] 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.[18] 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.[19]

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, 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, who served as ICANN's Founding Chairman (1998-2000), speaking as an independent investor; and Senior Vice President and General Counsel of the YMCA Angela Williams, speaking on behalf of NPOC.[20] Senate officials present included: Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller (D-WV); Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn), Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.),[21] 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.[22]

One of biggest the 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.[23]

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.[24]

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.[25]

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 opposer to ICANN and 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.[26]

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. [27]

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 ask 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.[28]

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 miseducation going on about 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.[29]

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.[30] 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.[31] The tour saw him personally visit 16 countries, while other staff and board members visited an additional 22 countries.[32] 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.[33][34] 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.[35]

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.[36]

New gTLD Program Disqualification Request Against Employ Media

On January 11, 2012, the .JOBS Charter Compliance Coalition requested ICANN to disqualify Employ Media and its partner, the Direct Employers Association from participating in the new gTLD expansion program because of its history for violating the .jobs TLD charter.[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 ICANN to determine and announce a definitive date to implement a second round of new gTLD applications. According to CADNA President Josh Bourne, a second round of application 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 regarding 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 in "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 to be delegated by law or under Article XII, Section 2 of the ICANN Bylaws will be 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. About the New gTLD Program
  5. ICANN Confirms Possible New Applicant Guidebook, DomainIncite.com
  6. GAC Gets more Power to Block Controversial gTLDs, DomainIncite.com
  7. New gTLDs: What to Expect in 2012, icann.org
  8. SARP (Support Applicant Review Panel) Process Document, icann.org
  9. New gTLD Applicant Support Program
  10. ICANN Seeks Evaluators for the Support Applicant Review Panel (SARP) - Request for Expressions of Interest (EOI)
  11. ICANN Opens New gTLD Program, DomainIncite.com
  12. 25 companies Register for New gTLDs, DomainIncite.com
  13. New gTLD Application Types
  14. ICANN Facing Growing Pressure Over New Domain Name Plan, NationalJournal.com]
  15. ANA.net
  16. Exapnding Internet Domains, NYTimes.com
  17. What's the .rush, WashingtonPost.com
  18. ICANN, FTC.gov
  19. Testimony of Esther Dyson, Commerce.Senate.gov
  20. US Senate Committee Holds Hearing on ICANN's New TLD Expansion, circleid.com
  21. Senate Implores ICANN to Slow Its Roll but Admits It Can't Do Anything to Stop It, adage.com
  22. Notes from the Senate new gTLDs hearing, domainincite.com
  23. Senate Implores ICANN to Slow Its Roll but Admits It Can't Do Anything to Stop It, adage.com
  24. New gTLD industry pleads with senators
  25. What the House testimonies tell us, dot-nxt.com
  26. Congressmen ask for new gTLDs delay, domainincite.com
  27. Congressmen ask ICANN to delay new gTLDs
  28. Two Congressmen Ask Commerce Department For Delay to New TLDs, DomainNameWire.com
  29. NTIA Letter on gTLD Program Jan 3 2012, ntia.doc.gov
  30. NTIA Letter on gTLD Program Jan 3 2012, ntia.doc.gov
  31. New gTLD Roadshows, Blog.ICANN.org
  32. Twitter Post Dec 23 2011, Twitter.com
  33. ICANN Ombudsman Blog, OmBlog.ICANN.org
  34. New gTLD Outreach Grazes Japan, UrbanBrain.Posterous.com
  35. NTIA Letter on gTLD Program Jan 3 2012, NTIA.doc.gov
  36. China Cracks Down on New gTLD Applicants, DomainIncite.com
  37. Disqualification of Employ Media and its Principals from Applying for New gTLDs
  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