Wednesday, October 29, 2008

ICANN unveils draft on new gTLD

Global internet coordinating agency, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), has announced the unrestriction of a draft ‘Applicant Guidebook’ for the new generic top-level domains (gTLDs).

Media Advisor to ICANN, Mr. Jason Keenan, in a press statement made available to ITRealms Online, weekend, entitled “How to Apply for a New Generic Top-Level Domain” indicated that the draft guidebook provides information for those interested in applying for new generic top-level domains.

ICANN’s President and Chief Executive Officer, Dr Paul Twomey, said that since ICANN was founded 10 years ago, one of the foundational principles has been to support competition and consumer choice in generic top-level domains.

He said that competition is meant to promote innovation and enhance user choice and satisfaction.

The Internet, he said, has produced great openness and innovation that has led to unimagined changes, effect of which is opening up the top-level of the domain system will enable more innovation and entrepreneurial applications.

“One huge area of potential innovation will be applications for names that are in non-Roman characters, or Internationalized Domain Names (IDNs). Currently there are only 21 generic top-level names and they are all in characters that look like English. There are 1.5 billion Internet users and many non-English speakers will have the opportunity to express the whole of a domain name in characters that look like their language,” Twomey said.

The draft applicant guidebook and accompanying material, Twomey noted, would be made available in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish according to ICANN’s translation policy.

“The modules contain information on the evaluation fee, the application process and evaluation criteria, as well as background material,” he said.

Explaining that it was designed to accompany the draft applicant guidebook is a set of Explanatory Memoranda that are intended to assist understanding of the implementation work for new gTLDs.

In addition, two new papers tagged “Cost Considerations of the new gTLDs Program” and “Summary of Changes to Base Agreement for New gTLDs” are also being released and complete the explanatory memoranda.

Amongst the six modules and over 200 pages of the draft guidebook and memoranda, with some key areas of interest including, “How contested strings or names will be determined; How applications for geographic names will be considered; Technical requirements for new names that encompass internationalized domain names; The rights of intellectual property holders; How morality and public order objections can be raised; The cost of the evaluation process and how it is constructed.”

He further explained that there will be two comment periods of 45 days each and enjoined every government in the world to draw their interest to the revolution.

“Every government is being sent a letter to draw their attention to the draft and the draft Guidebook remains subject to further consultation and revision,” Twomey said.

Noting that there has already been robust discussion and consultation regarding many phases of the new gTLD implementation plan, but this is the first opportunity to consider the application and evaluation processes as a whole.

“There’s been a lot of thought involved in producing the draft guidebook and we’ve used best practice and outside experts to assist us in developing the application process. Now is the time for close scrutiny, questions and input that will shape the end result and make it stronger,” he said.

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