Internet Looks to Singapore and ICANN 41 for Decision on New gTLDs

by Scott Pinzon on June 18, 2011

Monday, 20 June, might go down in history books as the day the Internet changed dramatically.

That’s the day ICANN’s Board of Directors votes on whether to finalize the Applicant Guidebook, a document that explains how any established institution (such as a government, business, or non-profit organization) can apply to operate a generic top-level domain (gTLD) of its own choosing. If the Board approves the Guidebook as final, the clock starts ticking on a process that could lead to hundreds of new gTLDs by 2013. In addition to familiar TLDs such as .com, .org, and .net, Internet users could potentially see new domain name extensions made of almost any word, in any language.

New gTLDs are expected to introduce innovation, choice, and competition to Internet services. World press is already following the issue of new gTLDs with great interest, generating coverage from Reuters, Associated Press, National Public Radio, ABC News, ZDNet Asia, and other outlets.

But the future of top-level domains is not the only substantive topic ICANN tackles this week.

Hot Topics at ICANN 41

ICANN’s vibrant volunteer community will consider many other important issues between 19 – 24 June. A partial list includes:

Internationalized Domain Names (IDNs). IDNs enable people who use languages based on scripts other than ASCII (letters A – Z) to offer users domain names in non-ASCII characters. (Example languages include Arabic, Chinese, Cyrillic, and many others.) But some issues still need much more work. For example, if you type in Arabic, a character that looks the same from one keyboard to another may produce different technical code when typed, depending on whether your keyboard was made in Iran or Pakistan. When the character is used in a URL, the differing code can take you to a site you didn’t intend to visit. These “variants,” and associated issues, are being dealt with so that all users from all regions can reliably visit the sites they want. The discussion continues on Monday.

Inter-Registrar Transfers. Transfer-related issues are the number one area of complaint according to data from ICANN Compliance. Should there be a process or special provisions for the urgent return of a hijacked domain name? The GNSO Council votes on the issue Wednesday.

New gTLD Applicants from Developing Countries. If the Board approves the process for creating new gTLDs, developing countries may have a need for a new gTLD, but lack the financial means to apply for and operate it. A working group comprised of members from ICANN Supporting Organizations and Advisory Committees has been considering how such groups might be funded if they apply for a TLD. The group offers a report on Thursday.

These are just a few examples of dozens of topics that the ICANN community will attempt to move forward during a week containing more than 120 panels, presentations, workshops and other sessions. If you’re not in Singapore, you can participate remotely for most sessions. For details, see the Remote Participation Page and the full meeting schedule.

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Baljeet Singh 06.18.11 at 10:34 pm

This proposal has far reaching consequences for Domain Name, Brands holders, Trademark owners and even for International Organisations like ICANN and World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO). This decision would give a new meaning to Domain Names Protection, Brands Protection, Trademarks Protection, Cybersquatting Disputes Resolution, Cyber Law Compliances, Cyber Security requirements, Cyber Due Diligence, etc.

Further, the introduction of large numbers of new GTLDs will also raise additional Cyber Security Challenges for Organisations seeking to secure their online presence. The growing cyber attacks upon International Companies and Organisations like Gmail, Citicorp, etc proves this point. This is the reason why ICANN and INTERPOL are exploring methods to enhance Internet Security.

PTLB 06.18.11 at 11:54 pm

Hi Scott

Nice article and thanks for the crucial info.

Of course, now it is clear that ICANN 41 is more than a gTLD meeting. However, we feel that ICANN need to consider many crucial issues like better dispute resolution mechanism, modified UDRP procedures, enhanced cyber security initiatives, better national and international cooperations, considering interests of developing countries and NGOs, etc.

We are sure ICANN would sort out all these issues in the present or subsequent meetings.

All the best.

Leonid 06.18.11 at 11:55 pm

while I have no data on Arabic keyboards production in Iran or Pakistan at hand, actually, neither country speaks Arabic (except for Muslim clerics, etc.), with Pakistan having two official languages: Urdu, which is also Pakistan’s national language and lingua franca, and English. Additionally, Pakistan has four major provincial languages: Punjabi, Pashto, Sindhi, and Balochi, as well as three major regional languages: Saraiki, Hindko and Kashmiri. meanwhile, major languages spoken in Iran are: # Persian, Luri, Gilaki and Mazandarani 58%, Azeri and other Turkic languages 26%, and Kurdish 9% (the data borrowed from Wikipedia)

Oscar Araos Guzman 06.19.11 at 3:35 am

It seems right that ICANN meets an oversight role in applications are given to the domain extensions …

spons 06.20.11 at 3:20 am

Custom TLDs are terrible and ICANN should feel bad about this. But they don’t because they’re going to make millions out of this. I hope your are all very proud on making the web even more commercial than it already is.

Ron 06.28.11 at 10:47 am

Won’t this cause confusion? For example, pepsi.pepsi? my.pepsi? People are used to the idea of just typing the brand name followed by .com

Now people have to remember the tld along with the full url. Looking forward to how this will turn out.

Scott Pinzon 06.30.11 at 1:14 pm

@Ron, I think new gTLDs are likely to clear up confusion, not cause it. To cite your example, if you visit [something].pepsi, you know very clearly that you are on Pepsi’s website. Meanwhile, today, whose site are you on if you visit It turns out: not Apple’s.
Also, the notion that people type a brand followed by .com is a North American view. Globally, people are more accustomed to resorting to their local country code. For example, in Germany .de is more popular than .com, and in Russia, .ru is most popular. So typing something-dot-com is not always the answer, and is certainly not the answer for new businesses, who have a hard time finding a meanginful .com address.
And finally, in branded TLDs to come, the second-level domains are most likely to make good sense. Pepsi wouldn’t bother with pepsi.pepsi, but they probably would use diet.pepsi, careers.pepsi, and other very intuitive domain names.

Solicitors in London 07.06.11 at 3:07 am

Doesnt this just open up the floor to domains that essentially will make no sense whatsoever? Many businesses will try and list a random domain names and looking at it from a consumer point of view, it makes no sense, for example as stated will not take you to apples website but neither will, this doesnt make sense to me and I think it will not benefit many users other than users who are ingrained to using a non ASCII keyboard.

SIYI HU 07.12.11 at 7:27 pm


當初設定TLD(Top Level Domain)的理想何在?

New gTLD就是一種騙錢的障眼法


SIYI HU 07.12.11 at 10:35 pm

What are ‘The Emperor’s New Clothes’ of the New_gTLDs ?
The New_gTLDs are just domain names in a New_TLD which is Dot_Nothing.
The New_gTLDs aren’t Dot_Anything but Dot_Nothing.

Google is Google(.nothing)
Apple is Apple(.nothing)
Microsoft is Microsoft(.nothing)
IBM is IBM(.nothing)

The Emperor is wearing nothing at all !

Stephen Gould 07.14.11 at 3:07 pm

There are probably thousands of unrelated yet similarly named companies all across the globe. As an extreme example, with the present system if I had say a real estate company in Albania called Macdonalds I would have a fighting chance of being able to register, which would be quite right and equitable. Under the gTLD system there will be only one global slot for macdonalds and it will not be the poor guy with the little business in Albania who gets it. These slots will all be taken by global corporations – the rest of the world be damned!

The gTLD system favors global commerce over national interests and I think that is a mistake that goes against the spirit of freedom and equality that the Internet has always enjoyed.

SIYI HU 07.17.11 at 9:35 pm

@Scott Pinzon
What is the apple?
The apple is the fruit of the apple tree.
Who will own the new_gTLD ‘.apple’?
Who knows?
Meanwhile, whose site are you on if you visit [something].apple? It turns out: not Apple Inc’s.
Today, if you visit [something], you know very clearly that you are on Apple Inc’s website.

What is new_gTLD can do that .COM cann’t do?
The new_gTLD creates more problems than it solve.

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