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Applicant Guidebook

An official update on the new gTLD program / Applicant Guidebook process has just been published. Most of you reading this will immediately know what that means but I’m going to use a third label which isn’t ICANN-world terminology to talk about it: Internet extensions.

ICANN has been working on a process for opening up the Internet space for a number of years. As that process has got closer to reality, people have started paying it more and more attention. The “new gTLD program” envisions a very significant increase in the number of “generic top-level domains” – or Internet extensions like dot-com, dot-net, dot-info etc. At the moment there are 21 of these extensions of three characters or more: the gTLD program is estimating a further 500 within the next two years. It’s a huge change in the Internet’s domain name system.

The “Applicant Guidebook” is what it says it is – a guidebook for those that plan to apply for a new Internet extension. In it, all the rules, procedures and processes are outlined in some depth. And currently ICANN is running an extensive and ongoing public comment and review process using that guidebook as the focus for discussion.

Which leads to the question of this blog post: so where are we up to with these new Internet extensions?


Video update to the Applicant Guidebook process

by Kieren McCarthy on February 4, 2009

So, no doubt you have all been wondering what exactly ICANN and its staff have been up to over January with respect to the Applicant Guidebook and the reams of comments covering the new generic top-level domain process.

In order to provide some answers and perspective, ICANN’s most senior executives dealing with the process – the CEO Paul Twomey, the COO Doug Brent and the Senior Vice President for Services Kurt Pritz – have done a video update on where we are now and where the process is going.

You can see it on the right-hand-side of this post. Enjoy.


Applicant Guidebook update

by Kieren McCarthy on January 12, 2009

The first public comment period on the Draft Applicant Guidebook for new gTLDs has closed. The period opened on 24 October 2008, and was 76 days long after it closed 7 January to account for later publication of the Guidebook in Arabic, Chinese, French, Russian and Spanish. ICANN continued to receive and accept English comments received until the January 7 deadline considering the end of year holidays.

The comment period received over 300 comments from participants from 24 different countries. Among the many participants were individuals and organizations representing intellectual property interests, brand owners, business owners, ICANN supporting organizations, domain name industry players, and governments.

“This level of interest and feedback to the Draft Guidebook shows that the comment process is working. All the comments and concerns will be considered and a response will be provided” said Paul Levins, Executive Officer and Vice President Corporate Affairs.


IDN and gTLD introductory sessions video

by Kieren McCarthy on January 5, 2009

During the Cairo meeting in, ICANN together with produced a number of videos covering the main sessions and topics, with each video fronted by a member of either the staff or a chair of the relevant supporting organization or advisory committee.

You can find all of those videos posted on the Cairo site at, and we also post ICANN videos on the main site under the main tab “Videos”.

This video features two of ICANN’s project managers – Tina Dam and IDNs, and Karla Valente and new gTLDs – talking about the sessions they were due to run on the first day of the conference where introductions were given to their two topic areas.


Applicant Guidebook comment period update

by Kieren McCarthy on December 22, 2008

The first comment period for the Applicant Guidebook has now closed for English speakers, and will close on 7 January for those responding in Arabic, Chinese, French, Russian or Spanish.

The responses sent in will now be carefully compiled and summarized. In the New Year, this summary will be published and soon thereafter, suggested alterations to the Guidebook based on that feedback will be put back out to the community.

The revised Guidebook will then be put out to a second comment period in order to enable fine tuning.


Briefing Note: Overall Summary of the Cairo Meeting

by Kieren McCarthy on December 17, 2008

This Briefing Note for the Cairo meeting was first published on the Cairo meeting site on 13 November (see: It was reprinted the following day in the November edition of the ICANN magazine (see:

What was it?

ICANN’s 33nd international public meeting was the third held this year to conduct policy development and outreach. It was hosted by ICANN (the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) and the Government of Egypt.

The meeting was opened by Dr. Tarek Mohamed Kamel, Egypt’s Minister of Communications and Information Technology. There were 1,702 attendees from 144 different countries. The participants engaged in a wide range of discussions about the Internet’s domain name system and related issues.

Response and summary to the Cairo public forum

by Kieren McCarthy on December 15, 2008

This is a Response and Summary to the Cairo public forum that took place on 6 November 2008.

A PDF version of this document is available at:

Note from the Chairman:

One of the most significant features of ICANN meetings is the Public Forum, where members of the ICANN community are able to present their views on issues of concern to them to the ICANN Board, in public session. The fact that we rotate meetings through each of the geographic sectors of the world enhances the opportunity that people from every region to present their views to the ICANN Board, in the presence of Staff and the whole ICANN community.

As a long-time participant from the floor presenting views, in my case from the ccTLD community, I am well aware of the time, effort and expense that goes into the preparation of such statements. As a board member, I have valued hearing those submissions, from individuals, governments and constituencies. I am determined as Chair to continue this tradition, and to maximise the opportunities for information sharing it represents.

New gTLD video with Kurt Pritz

by Kieren McCarthy on December 12, 2008

During the recent meeting in Cairo, ICANN together with produced a number of videos covering the main sessions and topics, with each video fronted by a member of either the staff or a chair of the relevant supporting organization or advisory committee.

You can find all of those videos posted on the Cairo site at , and we will also be posted all ICANN videos on the main site under a new tab “Videos”.

This video features Senior Vice President of Services, Kurt Pritz, talking about the session he ran on the recently released Applicant Guidebook, going through it with attendees and taking questions and comments.


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.