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 TLD. 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 TLD.
The gTLD Applicant Guidebook currently in effect, describing the requirements of the application and evaluation processes. Download the Applicant Guidebook.
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.
ccTLD (Country-Code Top Level Domain)
A class of top-level domain only assignable to represent countries and territories listed in the ISO 3166-1 standard. The Root Zone Database has more information.
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.
A Constituency is a term within ICANN that refers to a 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.
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.
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 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.
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. The DNS translates user-friendly, unique alphanumeric addresses (or domain names) into more complicated, machine-readable, numerical internet protocol (IP) addresses. So instead of typing 184.108.40.206, you can type www.internic.net.
GAC (Governmental Advisory Committee)
The Governmental Advisory Committee includes representatives from national governments from all over the world. They offer advice to ICANN on issues such as public policy, especially in areas that relate to national laws or international agreements. The GAC also discusses their views and concerns with the ICANN Board of Directors, Advisory Committees and other influential groups and organisations.
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.
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 helps develop policy for gTLDs and policy recommendations for new gTLDs. It encompasses the Non-Contracted Parties House (NCPH), which includes the Commercial Stakeholder Group and the Non-Commercial Stakeholder Group, and the Contracted Parties House (CPH), which includes the Registrars Stakeholder Group (RrSG) and the Registries Stakeholder Group (RySG).
“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 IETF 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, internationally organised, 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).
IDN (Internationalised Domain Name)
A domain name including characters used in the local representation of languages 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. They represent the interests of intellectual property owners worldwide and are particularly focussed on trademark and copyright concerns in the domain name system.
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.
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 are domain names that are more expensive than the standard advertised domain name price. The Registry Operator often holds them back from Sunrise in order to be allocated at a later date through auction or an RFP process rather than first come, first served.
An ICANN-accredited registrar is an entity that has entered into a Registrar Accreditation Agreement with ICANN. There are many different registrar companies that are in competition with each other. They may take registrations for domain names ending with .aero, .biz, .com, .coop, .info, .museum, .name, .net, .org, and .pro (not an exhaustive list). 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 registry by adding, deleting, or updating domain name records.
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. In addition, they produce the “zone files” that direct internet traffic to and from top level domains from any global location.
The agreement executed between ICANN and successful gTLD applicants, which appears as an attachment to Module 5 of the Applicant Guidebook.
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.
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.
RsYG (Registries Stakeholder Group)
The Registries Stakeholder Group forms part of ICANN’s GNSO, representing the interests of gTLD registries in ICANN policy making.
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 is a pre-launch phase providing mark holders the opportunity to register domain names in a TLD before registration is generally available to the public. All new gTLD registries will have an obligation to provide a minimum 30 days notification of Sunrise and then a 30 day Sunrise period. This will enable mark holders to pre-register their marks and proactively take protective measures.
TMCH (Trademark Clearinghouse)
The TMCH is a global, central repository of trademark rights information to protect trademarks in the new gTLD program. It eliminates the need for brand owners to submit their trademark information to separate databases belonging to each registry.
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 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.