Here’s how we enter the .future

by Kieren McCarthy on October 24, 2008

So, after years of policy and development work, yesterday ICANN released a draft version of the Applicant Guidebook for those interested in applying for a new “generic top-level domain”.

Or, as Associated Press put it “preliminary guidelines for the introduction of hundreds, perhaps thousands, of alternatives to ‘.com’ in the first sweeping changes to the network’s 25-year-old address system.”

A huge amount of thinking and work has gone into this, as anyone who reads the six-module guidebook and the accompanying explanatory memoranda will realise. But because it is such a complex issue – opening up the Internet like never before – we need more eyes on it than the GNSO representatives and the ICANN staff that have got it to this point.

That’s why the whole thing is out to public comment. And because it is a big document, we have set up different comment areas for each module (as well as one for the guidebook as a whole in case people prefer to comment that way).

Alot of people have raised concerns about expanding the namespace over the past few years, and those comments have been listened to and taken into account. ICANN has said “wait until we produce the draft RFP, then if you still have concerns, let’s talk”.

Well, that time has come. The documents are out in English; soon they will be out in Arabic, Chinese, French, Spanish and Russian. We will have a large number of sessions on them in Cairo in two weeks; we have a 45-day comment period open. We will have more sessions and more comment periods before this is finalised.

So, if you want to help guide the future evolution of the Internet, now’s the time to download a few documents, read them, give it some thought and then share with both the community and the world your thoughts on how we do this right. ICANN looks forward to hearing from you.

Please visit the specific public comment page set up for supplying your feedback at:

Update: I’ve just been told that our first correction is in. George Kirikos has noticed a discrepancy on the issue of price controls on previous new gTLDs, so we have added a clarifying note. Thanks George, please keep ‘em coming.

You can download the Guidebook and its modules (all pdf files) at the links below:

Individual modules:

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

George Kirikos 10.24.08 at 10:48 am

Your “correction” was to simply state that sponsored gTLDs have not had price controls. However, my previously stated concerns have NOT been addressed, namely that this draft agreement opens up existing unsponsored gTLDs (i.e. .com, .net, .org, .info, .biz, etc.) to introduce tiered pricing, under their “equal treatment” clauses.

Kieren McCarthy 10.24.08 at 1:08 pm

Hi George,

This is in reference to a posting and comment on Circle ID (

I’ll post the same comment here as there: my response to you was only with regard to your specific comment about price controls on sponsored and unsponsored TLDs.

As to your wider question about whether the wording could in future allow for existing registries to ask for changes in their contracts, well that’s what this public comment period is for.

You are raising a theoretical future possibility based on draft documents. The answer to that is always going to be: raise it as part of the public comment process and the community can discuss it.

As you know, since I can see you have already posted your point there (thank you btw), as your point concerns the draft base agreement, the best email address for sending a public comment is and you an view all comments on this issue at

Thanks again George, this sort of review where not only the documents themselves but also the potential future impacts of what they contain are discussed is exactly the sort of thing that this public comment period hopes to elicit.


Joe Mescher 10.27.08 at 9:56 am

Amazing. So now we’ll be seeing ‘www.startrek.future’ or ‘www.rushlimbaugh.ignormaus’?

Can’t wait to register ‘www.joemescher.genius’.

Kieren McCarthy 10.28.08 at 1:53 pm

Well, yes, if someone considers that “.future” is a serious enough prospect to put forward $180,000 for the application, invest hundreds of thousands more in building a robust infrastructure and deal with all the issues that arise from running a core piece of the Internet’s naming system.

If they do that, then you as a consumer may be able to register the domain “startrek.future” for roughly $6. The name “future” might just be exciting enough for someone to put in the time and resources needed to get it and run it, but I fear that even if “.future” is created, you are going to have a very hard time getting hold of “startrek.future”.

As for “rushlimbaugh.ignoramus”, I am afraid you are going to have to let this particular dream go. Not that there aren’t enough ignoramuses in the world for it to herald enough demand, but I just have the feeling no one is going to be in a rush to go through the application process for a word whose meaning can be much more effectively portrayed with a shorter, punchier piece of English.

As for “joemescher.genius”. Well, that’s a 50-50. There may well be enough people willing to have their statuses immortalised online that this is viable. If it ends up a community top-level domain, if you want “joemescher.genius” you may need to prove your super-high intelligence in order to be allowed it – but I have no doubt being a genius that you have already got that covered.

The serious point of course is that this process is not just a matter of typing a domain into a box and clicking “register” if it’s available.

In many ways, the simplicity of registering a domain these days makes it all look too easy. (That simplicity, incidentally, comes a result of the competitive market measures that ICANN introduced and has overseen for a decade.) But there are enormously complex systems and thousands of highly-trained personnel at work behind the scenes.

Running a part of the Internet addressing system is not for the faint-hearted. It is a serious and complex endeavour. But, hopefully, there are some people out there who think it is worth it. People who understand that with the responsibility and complexity comes the opportunity to help define the next revolution of the Internet and with it, define our future as a race on this planet.


Southland.LA 10.29.08 at 11:24 pm

We at Southland.LA welcome the addition of Dot-City GeoTLDs. Finally, Dot-LA is going to have some company throughout the world. Go Dot-City GeoTLDs. ICANN’s latest decisions certainly vindicate LA Names Corporation’s vision on Dot-City GeoTLDs. Visit for more information on Dot-LA.

Dirk Krischenowski 10.30.08 at 12:21 am

Will the Draft Applicant Guidebook also available in German language one day?

For any interested party we made a German summary at:

Kieren McCarthy 01.05.09 at 9:35 am

@ Dirk: I’m afraid we will not be translating the Applicant Guidebook into German – but we will have it in Arabic, Chinese (simplified), French, Spanish and Russian.

If there is significant demand for the documents in German however, we would certainly review the request. As you know, Dirk, German is one of the 10 languages that ICANN supports (although not one of the five that we typically translate into).


Carlos Rodriguez 02.10.10 at 4:51 pm

The future belong to ones that benefit from everybody in certain way.If the people can hear the good words of wisdom the world would be a better placed to leave and the creator will take over this planet.The power belongs to ones that enjoy life to the fullest in this world of ours.Just remember today we face reality and the future would end painless. ” the future is waiting”

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