Understanding the complex ICANN gTLD application process can be difficult. Whilst ICANN has published an extensive eight page A-Z glossary of terms, for convenience Valideus has summarised the main terms and acronyms that are used throughout the gTLD application process below:
Applicant – The organisation that has applied to ICANN for a new gTLD. Submitted within the application period, an application includes the completed application form, any supporting documents, and any other information that may be submitted at ICANN’s request. The application must identify a person who has authority to execute decisions concerning the application as the primary contact.
ccTLD – Two-letter top-level domains corresponding with the ISO country code list.
Community-based TLD – A gTLD that is operated for the benefit of a defined community consisting of a restricted population. 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.
Generic Names Supporting Organization (GNSO) – ICANN’s policy-development body for generic TLDs, and the lead in developing the policy recommendations for the introduction of new gTLDs.
Evaluator – an independent service provider engaged by ICANN to evaluate applications received. ICANN is currently is phase 2 of its evaluator selection process to develop several panels including
- Applicant Evaluation Panel – Financial and Technical
- Geographic Names Panel – will review applications that relate to geographical place names
- String Similarity Examiners – will identify domain character strings that may give rise to confusion
- Comparative Evaluation Panel – a process to resolve string contention, which may be elected by a community-based applicant
An applicant’s technical and financial capabilities, and proposed registry services are evaluated in the initial evaluation period. If an applicant fails to pass the initial evaluation, but are still eligible for further review then they will undergo an extended evaluation.
Objection – A formal objection filed with a Dispute Resolution Service Providers (DRSP) – independent providers engaged by ICANN to adjudicate dispute resolution proceedings in response to formally filed objections – in accordance with that provider’s procedures. An objection can only be filed within a defined filing period and can be on the following grounds:
- Legal Rights objection – An applied-for gTLD string infringes existing legal rights of the objector
- Morality and public order objection – An the applied-for gTLD string is contrary to generally accepted legal norms of morality and public order that are recognized under international principles of law
Contention sets – A group of applications containing identical or similar applied-for gTLD strings.
Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) – 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 (DRSP).
Delegation – following a successful application and evaluation, and completion of a pre-delegation technical test, this is the process in which the applicant’s applied-for TLD is added to the root zone of the Internet, and the applicant can begin registry operations.
Registry – the authoritative, master database of all domain names registered in each top-level domain. The registry operator keeps the master database and also generates the zone file that allows computers to route Internet traffic to and from top-level domains anywhere in the world. Domain names are sold to Internet users by an ICANN accredited registrar, of which there are over 900 worldwide. Registry operators must sign a registry agreement with ICANN as they are responsible for a number of registry services that are critical to the security and stability of the Internet infrastructure and Domain Name System (DNS).