gTLD glossary

Understanding the complex ICANN gTLD application process can be difficult. For convenience, Valideus has summarised the main terms and acronyms* that are used throughout the gTLD application process below.

*Compiled from a variety of sources, including ICANN and their new gTLD website

APOC (Abuse Point of Contact) Registry operators must provide a single abuse point of contact to enable notifications of abusive behaviours in relation to their registries. The abuse page of the registry website should publish the single abuse point of contact’s accurate contact details – email, postal address, primary contact person for managing inquiries connected to abuse in the registry.


Applicant Guidebook The gTLD Applicant Guidebook currently in effect, describing the requirements of the application and evaluation processes. Download the Applicant Guidebook here.


ASCII (American Standard Code for Information Interchange) A character encoding based on the English alphabet. When mentioned in relation to domain names or strings, ASCII refers to the fact that before internationalisation only the letters a-z, digits 0-9, and the hyphen “-”, were allowed in domain names.


BRC (Board Risk Committee) The BRC identify and document risks within ICANN and conducts regular meetings aimed at managing the risks within the organisation. ICANN’s security team offers staff support to the BRC.


BRG (Brand Registry Group) The BRG is a trade association representing the interests of brand owners who applied for single registrant, closed registries with ICANN.


ccTLD (Country-Code Top Level Domain) A class of top-level domain for countries and territories listed in the ISO 3166-1 lists. The Root Zone Database has more information.


Community-based gTLD A community-based gTLD is a gTLD that is operated for the benefit of a clearly delineated community. An applicant designating its application as community-based must be prepared to substantiate its status as representative of the community it names in the application.


CPE (Community Priority Evaluation)  A process to resolve string contention, which may be elected by a community-based applicant.


Constituency A Constituency is a formal interest group recognised by ICANN as representing a certain group of people and/or businesses that share a common perspective or interest pertaining to the domain name space. Constituencies have votes and shape a formal part of ICANN’s structure. The Commercial Stakeholder Group and Non-Commercial Stakeholder Group, within the GNSO, are comprised of individual Constituencies. The Commercial Stakeholder Group includes: Commercial Business Users, Intellectual Property and Internet Service Providers. The Non-Commercial Stakeholder Group includes: Non-Commercial Users and Not-for-Profit Operational Concerns.


Consensus Policy A policy created through the GNSO policy development process listed in
Annex A of the ICANN Bylaws. For more information, see the list of consensus policies that have been adopted by the ICANN Board of Directors.


Contention Set A group of new gTLD applications containing identical or similar applied-for gTLD strings.


CQs (Clarifying Questions)  Clarifying questions are asked when evaluators feel they do not have enough information to award a new gTLD applicant a passing score. Applicants have four weeks to respond to clarifying questions. Evaluators review and score applications based on the information submitted to ICANN by the applicant. Any supplementary documentation provided by the applicant then becomes part of their overall new gTLD application.


Delegation Delegation refers to the delegation of responsibility by ICANN/IANA for administration of a TLD in the DNS root. The root zone is edited to include a new TLD, and the management of domain name registrations under such TLD is turned over to the registry operator. IANA manages the DNS root zone and the Root Zone Database provides the delegation details of all the TLDs.


DNS The Domain Name System (DNS) helps users to find their way around the Internet. It is a “mnemonic” device that makes addresses easier to remember. Every computer on the internet has a unique address – just like a telephone number – which is a rather complicated string of numbers. It is called its “IP address” (“Internet Protocol”). IP Addresses are hard to remember. The DNS makes using the internet easier by allowing a familiar string of letters (the “domain name”) to be used instead of the arcane IP address. So instead of typing, you can type


GAC (Governmental Advisory Committee) The Governmental Advisory Committee is one of ICANN’s advisory committees, made up of representatives from national governments from all over the world. They offer advice to the ICANN board on issues such as public policy, especially in areas that relate to national laws or international agreements.


GAC Early Warning A notice issued by the GAC concerning a gTLD application indicating that the application is seen as potentially sensitive or problematic by one or more governments.


General Availability The term used to describe when domain names are available to register without restriction according to the standard eligibility requirements of the registry, after any trademark or other priority launch periods have ended.


GNSO (Generic Names Supporting Organisation) The GNSO is ICANN’s policy making forum. It is made up of constituencies within the ICANN structure including registries, registrars, intellectual property interests, business interests, non-commercial interests, and others.


Go Live  “Go Live” is another term for released or launched. When a new gTLD “goes live”, it will be possible to register second level domains.


IANA (Internet Assigned Numbers Authority) The IANA is a division of ICANN. It is the authority originally responsible for overseeing IP address allocation, coordinating the assignment of protocol parameters provided for in internet technical standards, and managing the DNS, including delegating top-level domains, and overseeing the root name server system. Under ICANN, the IANA distributes addresses to the Regional Internet Registries, coordinates with the Internet Engineering Task Force and other technical bodies to assign protocol parameters, and oversees DNS operation. IANA must receive approval from the US Department of Commerce if it decides to change anything in the root zone file.


ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) ICANN manages the domain name system to ensure the operational stability of the internet. It is a California-incorporated, non-profit corporation that was created at the end of 1998 following the release of the NTIA Draft Proposal to Improve Technical Management of Internet Names and Addresses (Green Paper) and the NTIA Management of Internet Names and Addresses (White Paper). ICANN develops domain name policy through a bottom up, multi-stakeholder model.


IDN (Internationalised Domain Name) A domain name including characters used in the local representation of scripts not written with the basic Latin alphabet (a-z). An IDN can contain Latin letters with diacritical marks, as required by many European languages, or may consist of characters from non-Latin scripts such as Arabic or Chinese.


IDNA (Internationalising Domain Names in Applications) 


The technical protocol used for processing domain names containing non-ASCII characters in the DNS.
IE (Initial Evaluation) New gTLD applications are reviewed by several panels of evaluators. During the Initial Evaluation the following assessments are completed: 1) String reviews and 2) Applicant reviews.String reviews consist of checks that the applied-for gTLD string is not expected to cause security or stability problems in the DNS. Applicant reviews include an assessment into whether the applicant has the necessary technical, operational and financial capabilities to operate a registry. For more information, consult the Applicant Guidebook.


IETF (Internet Engineering Task Force) The IETF is a large, open international community of network designers, operators, vendors, and researchers concerned with the evolution of the internet architecture and the smooth operation of the internet.


IP Claims (Intellectual Property Claims) A Trademark Claims Service will be offered for a minimum of 90 days following sunrise in a new gTLD registry. The Claims Service will require registries to check new domain name registrations against the Trademark Clearinghouse, and notify trademark owners and registrants when prospective registrations are identical to a mark.


IPC (Intellectual Property Constituency) The IPC is one of the Constituencies of the GNSO that advises the GNSO Council of recommendations to make to the ICANN board. The IPC represents the interests of intellectual property owners worldwide.


Landrush The landrush phase is a period of time immediately following the launch of a TLD and provides the first opportunity for the general public to apply to register a domain name in that particular TLD.


LOC (Letter of Credit ) All new gTLD applicants are required to obtain a letter of credit, which ICANN can draw on, in order to maintain the technical functions of the registry in the case of the registry failing.


NTAG (New gTLD Applicant Group) NTAG is an interest group that consists of members who represent the new gTLD applicants. It has observer status on the Registry Stakeholder Group and all new gTLD applicants are eligible to join. NTAG strives to improve communications between ICANN and applicants through facilitating discussions regarding the new gTLD program and associated issues of concern. Members’ views are represented to the Registry Stakeholder Group, the GNSO Council, the ICANN Board of Directors, and other influential groups and organisations.


PDDRP (Post-Delegation Dispute Resolution Procedure) The Trademark Post-Delegation Dispute Resolution Procedure provides trademark holders the opportunity to seek redress from new gTLD registry operators exhibiting bad faith intent to profit from the systemic registration of infringing domain names. Remedies vary and may include termination of the registry contract by ICANN in extreme cases.


Pre-Delegation Testing Pre-delegation is a phase prior to delegation whereby applicants must complete a pre-delegation technical test to ensure the registry is ready for operation. This test must be passed by all new gTLD applicants before they are allowed to be introduced into the root zone.


Premium Names Premium names are domain names that the Registry Operator holds back from the sunrise to be allocated at a later date through auction or an RFP process rather than first come, first served.


Registrant Registrants are the internet users who register domain names. Domain names must be registered through an ICANN-Accredited Registrar. Registrants do not interact directly with the registry operator.


Registrar An ICANN-accredited registrar is an entity that registrants must use to register domain names. There are over 1,500 ICANN-accredited registrars in competition with each other. The registrar retains records containing technical and contact information that the registrants provide. These records are then submitted to the registry. The registrar has access to make changes to a registration by adding, deleting, or updating domain name records.


Registry A registry is an authoritative master database of domain names registered in each top level domain. A registry operator maintains the master database of domain names for that registry. In addition, they produce the “zone files” that direct internet traffic to and from top level domains from any global location.


Registry Agreement The agreement executed between ICANN and successful gTLD applicants, which appears as an attachment to Module 5 of the Applicant Guidebook.


Registry Operator The entity entering into the Registry Agreement with ICANN, responsible for setting up and maintaining the operation of the registry.


RGP (Redemption Grace Period) When a domain name is deleted, a 30-day Deleted Name Redemption Grace Period will follow. The Redemption Grace Period helps resolve problems associated with domain name deletions caused by inadvertence or fraud. This period allows the registrant, registry, and/or registrar enough time to identify and amend any mistaken deletions. In this time the domain name will not function because it will have been removed from the zone. Succeeding the 30 day period, there is a five day period before a domain is finally deleted in order to notify all registrars of the deletion.


Root Zone The root zone database represents the delegation details of top-level domains, including gTLDs and ccTLDs. As manager of the DNS root zone, IANA is responsible for coordinating these delegations in accordance with its policies and procedures.


RySG (Registries Stakeholder Group) The Registries Stakeholder Group forms part of ICANN’s GNSO, representing the interests of gTLD registries in ICANN policy making.


String Contention The scenario in which there is more than one qualified applicant for the same gTLD or for gTLDs that are so similar that they create a probability of user confusion if more than one of the strings is delegated into the root zone. Contention must be resolved so that only one application goes forward.


Sunrise Sunrise is a pre-launch phase providing trademark holders the opportunity to register domain names in a TLD before registration is generally available to the public. All new, non-brand gTLD registries will have an obligation to provide a minimum 30 days notification of Sunrise and then a 30-day Sunrise period.


TMCH (Trademark Clearinghouse) The TMCH is a global, central repository of validated trademark rights information to protect trademarks in the New gTLD Program. It allows trademark holders to apply for domains matching their trademarks in multiple Sunrises, without having to validate trademark information each time.


Trademark Claims See IP Claims.


UDRP (Uniform Dispute Resolution Policy) A policy for resolving disputes arising from alleged abusive registrations of domain names (for example, cybersquatting), allowing expedited administrative proceedings that a trademark rights holder initiates by filing a complaint with an approved dispute resolution service provider.


URS (Uniform Rapid Suspension) URS provides trademark holders with a rapid and efficient mechanism to “take down” undeniably infringing domain names. A successful proceeding will result in suspension of the domain name. Compliance with results is mandatory for all new gTLD operators. It is designed as a quicker and cheaper alternative to the UDRP, but only for clear-cut cases of infringement.


WHOIS WHOIS provides public access to data associated with registered domain names. Databases can be queried that contain information such as registration and expiry dates, name servers, registrar information and registrant contact information. Registrars must remind registrants to update, review and correct their WHOIS data at least once a year. Domain name registrations may be cancelled if the registrant provides false WHOIS data.


Zone file The zone file contains all resource records associated with a domain name.