This document is a draft
for public comment posted on 24 June 2003. Please be sure to check
the ICANN website for any later versions of this document before
you submit your application.
Please submit any comments on this draft to <email@example.com>.
Methodology and Selection Criteria
All applicants should read this document carefully, since it defines
the Evaluation Methodology and the Selection Criteria that will be used
to review and evaluate applications. Evaluations that are rated highly
by the independent consultants performing the review will be recommended
for approval by the ICANN Board. A thorough understanding of this document,
therefore, is an essential prerequisite to completing an application for
a new sTLD, and should guide applicants in how to complete those applications.
It is ICANN’s intention to engage the services of one or more external
consultants to provide an objective and independent evaluation of the
applications with reference to the requirements stated in the RFP and
following the selection criteria and evaluation methodology described
in this document. ICANN staff may prepare reports for posting or for the
ICANN Board summarizing the findings of the consultant or consultants,
particularly if more than one consultant is employed or if there are additional
legal issues that the Board must consider. Although ICANN staff will not
be performing the substance of the evaluation, staff may assist in compiling,
synthesizing or tabulating information for review by the Board. The ICANN
Board’s role will be either to accept or reject the findings of the consultant(s).
The Board itself will not perform the evaluation. If the Board comes to
a determination that the evaluative process undertaken is insufficient,
the Board may decide to engage in further review by either the same or
a different consultant or consultants. Applicants should understand and
appreciate the risk that all applications will be found deficient and
Each major category and sub-category under the heading “Selection Criteria”
below has been assigned a total weight. The weights assigned to each sub-category
add to the total weight for the overall category. For an application to
be recommended by the consultant for acceptance under the established
criteria for this RFP review process, it must receive at least a “passing
score” in each major category and sub-category of the Selection Criteria;
a passing score is 75% of the possible total score in a major category,
and 50% in a sub-category. For example, a passing score in the first major
category “Ensure stable registry operation” would be 27 out of the possible
35 points. For applications approved by the Board, applicants will be
invited to enter into discussions with ICANN regarding entering into the
For an applicant to have reached this stage and been approved by the Board,
it must have submitted a “complete and well-structured application” (see
Section 6 below) including a complete and signed New
sTLD Application Transmittal Form together with all attachments. Among
other provisions, that Transmittal
Form committed the applicant to agree to enter into the Model
Agreement (Appendix A of the RFP) in the event of approval of their
application by the Board. The Model Agreement will not be open to negotiation.
The following criteria will be used in the evaluation of all proposals
1. Evidence of ability to ensure stable registry operation (35)
The overarching concern in the introduction of any new TLD is to ensure
that it does not detrimentally affect the stability of the DNS. It is
important to ensure that the new registry would itself perform reliably,
continuously, and in compliance with current and future technical standards,
and that provisions are made to ensure continuity of operation in the
face of any business or other catastrophic failure of the registry operator,
where the registry operator is no longer able to fulfill its obligations
to provide registry operations services.
This category will be deemed satisfied for any applicant that chooses
Option A for the selection of a registry operator, provided the existing
ICANN-accredited registry operator is in compliance with all material
terms of its existing agreement (see Request
for Proposals and New
sTLD Application Transmittal Form).
For those selecting Option B, proposals will receive a higher score
based on how convincingly they demonstrate that the registry operations
would be well-run and that the Registry Operator can ensure stable and
continuous operation, as indicated by:
(a) An applicant providing a detailed business plan to ensure
satisfactory continuing registry operation (10)
The information requested in the Registry Operator’s Proposal must
provide sufficient evidence that the applicant plans to contract
with a registry operator that has access to adequate resources and
has developed adequate plans to ensure that the registry operator
can operate the registry reliably and continuously, with adequate
provision to protect against business failure of the registry operator.
The sufficiency of detail provided will depend on the scale and
complexity of the proposed sTLD.
(b) The applicant ensures that the chosen registry operator
conforms or will confirm to high standards in technical operation
of the new sTLD registry (10)
The registry is expected to be operated at a performance level
commensurate with standards of other gTLDs. Among other considerations
in this regard, proposals will receive a higher score the more the
proposed Registry Operator:
Demonstrates Relevant Technical Experience
- The proposed registry operator demonstrates relevant technical
experience in the operation of domain name registries or other
related significant components of the Domain Name System (DNS).
Presents a Sound Technical Plan
(c) Provides a full range of registry services (5)
Registrants and ICANN-accredited registrars depend on reliable
and comprehensive registry services. The proposed registry operation
- A full range of essential services, with positive consideration
being given to additional, diversified services appropriate to
the sTLD’s charter; and
- High-quality services offered at the lowest reasonable cost.
Proposals will receive a higher score the higher the quality, the
lower the cost and the more comprehensive the range of registry
(d) Assures continuity of registry operation in the event
of business failure of the proposed registry (10)
Applications must provide for adequate assurance of continuity
of registry operations in the event of business failure of the proposed
registry. Although provision for escrow of registry data is required,
this of itself does not satisfy the requirement (see Requirements
for Registry Operator’s Proposal). Either:
• In addition to regular escrow with ICANN of registry data,
the applicant satisfies expectations of continuity by providing
a detailed and satisfactory business plan (see (a), above);
• The applicant in the Registry Operator’s Proposal must present
a realistic and satisfactory alternative for ensuring continuity
of registry operation in the event of business failure of the
proposed registry. This requirement can, for example, be met if
the applicant attaches a letter of commitment (outlining terms
and conditions) from an existing registry operator with whom ICANN
already has an agreement (see Appendix
C of the RFP), and which existing registry operator is operating
at a high level of performance, stating a willingness to assume
responsibility for the operation of the sTLD registry in the event
of business failure of the actual proposed registry operator.
2. Conform to requirements of sponsored TLD (60)
This RFP is for sponsored TLDs only. There are several key elements
to the definition of a sponsored TLD as specified in the RFP.
Conforming to this definition is critical. To the extent that the sponsoring
organization is seeking delegated policy-authority from ICANN, it is
also critical that such delegated authority conform to overall ICANN
policy and that there be an open and transparent policy-making process
established that is guided by and owes its overriding responsibility
to the Sponsored TLD Community (defined in subsection
2.a below) or the general Internet community.
Organizations sponsoring proposals, and the proposals themselves, will
receive a higher score the closer they conform to the stated requirements
for sTLDs and their sponsoring organizations; and to the extent the
delegated policy-making authority is guided by and owes its primary
responsibility to the Sponsored TLD Community and the general Internet
(a) Definition of Sponsored TLD Community
The proposed sTLD should address the needs and interests of a clearly
defined community (the Sponsored TLD Community), which can benefit
from establishment of a TLD operating under a policy formulation
environment in which the community would participate.
Proposals will receive a higher score the clearer it is that the
Sponsored TLD Community is:
• Precisely defined, so it can readily be determined which persons
or entities make up that community; and
• Comprised of persons that have needs and interests in common
differentiated from those of the general global Internet community,
so that there is a significant advantage to delegating specified
aspects of ICANN’s policy-formulation role for gTLDs.
(b) Appropriateness of the Sponsoring Organization and the
policy formulation environment (15)
An appropriately constituted sTLD must have a Sponsoring Organization
that is clearly defined and well-constructed, and that has clearly
defined delegated policy-making responsibilities consistent with
The scope of delegation of the policy-formulation role need not
be (and is not) uniform for all sTLDs, but is tailored to meet the
particular needs of the defined Sponsored TLD Community and the
characteristics of the policy-formulation environment.
Proposals will receive a higher score the more the Sponsoring Organization:
• Is clearly defined and well constructed;
• Operates primarily in the interests of the Sponsored TLD Community;
• Has a clearly defined delegated policy-formulation role consistent
with ICANN’s policies and appropriate to the needs of the Sponsored
TLD Community; and
• Provides for continuity in the event of business failure of
the Sponsoring Organization where the Sponsoring Organization
is no longer able to fulfill its obligations.
(c) Responsiveness to Sponsored TLD Community (15)
The Sponsoring Organization’s policy-formulation environment, policies,
and procedures must be appropriate to and responsive to the needs
and interests of the defined Sponsored TLD Community. It is paramount
that the Sponsoring Organization owe its overriding responsibilities
to the Sponsored TLD Community and the public interest in its policy-formulation
Proposals must clearly define the policy-formulation process that
must allow and promote participation, in an open and transparent
manner, appropriate to the particular Sponsored TLD Community.
Proposals, therefore, will receive a higher score the more the
Sponsoring Organization is proposed to have:
• Defined open and transparent processes for responding to input
from the Sponsored TLD Community; and
• Defined mechanisms to ensure that approved policies are primarily
in the interests of the Sponsored TLD Community and the public
(d) Level of support from community (15)
A key requirement of an sTLD proposal is that it demonstrates broad-based
support from the community it is intended to support. Conversely,
ICANN may reject a proposal, however sound it may otherwise be,
if there is significant evidence of strong opposition to the proposal
from key segments of the proposed Sponsored TLD Community.
Proposals will receive a higher score the more there is:
• Evidence of broad-based support from the Sponsored TLD Community
for the sTLD, for the Sponsoring Organization, and for the proposed
policy-formulation process; and
• Absence of significant evidence of strong opposition to the
proposal form key segments of the Sponsored TLD Community.
3. Add new value to the DNS (25)
How does the introduction of the proposed new sTLD make the Internet
and the DNS more useful and more accessible to broader communities of
interest and to more end users? Is it clear that a new top-level domain
name is required and that the objectives cannot be achieved at the second
level of an existing TLD?
Proposals will receive a higher score the more value that would be
added to the DNS by launching the proposed sTLD, and the more it is
clear that a top level domain name is required to achieve the stated
(a) Value of name (15)
A top-level gTLD name must have broad significance and have clear,
lasting value and utility. The name must also be appropriate to the
defined community. Proposals will receive a higher score the more
the proposed name:
• Categorizes a broad and lasting field of human, institutional,
or social endeavor or activity;
• Represents an endeavor or activity that has importance across
multiple geographic regions;
• Has lasting value; and
• Is appropriate to the scope of the proposed Sponsored TLD Community.
(b) Enhanced diversity of the DNS (10)
The proposed new sTLD should create a new and clearly differentiated
space, and satisfy needs that cannot be readily met through the existing
TLDs. One purpose of creating new TLDs is to enhance competition in
registry services, but this is only likely to happen with the launching
of larger new TLDs. Proposals will receive a higher score the more
the proposed sTLD:
• Is clearly differentiated from existing TLDs;
• Meets needs that cannot reasonably be met in existing TLD at
• Attracts new “supplier” and “user” communities to the Internet;
• Enhances competition in domain-name registration services. Including
competition with existing TLD registries.
4. Reach and enrich broad global communities (20)
How will the proposed new sTLD have broad functional, geographic, and
demographic impact, meeting the needs of significant global communities,
both providers and users?
The purpose of introducing new sTLDs at this time is not to launch
a large number of sTLDs that will only serve small and very narrowly
– in both the demographic and geographic sense – communities, but to
launch a few sTLDs with broad geographic and demographic impact. The
number of projected registrations is only one measure – and not necessarily
the best measure – of impact; one can conceive of smaller sTLDs that
nevertheless have a significant impact because they meet the needs of
broad communities of users desiring to find resources on the Internet
that would be served by the sTLD.
Given that choices need to be made, all other things being equal, greater
weight will be given to sTLDs that will serve larger user communities
and attract a greater number of registrants. Greater weight will also
be given to those proposed sTLDs whose charters have relatively broader
Proposals, therefore, will receive a higher score the broader the scope
and the broader the community(ies) addressed by the sTLD.
(a) Demographic reach (10)
Proposals will receive a higher score the more they realistically
anticipate broader utilization and provide convincing evidence in
their projections of the
• Numbers of people and institutions served; and
• Number of potential and planned new registrants.
(b) Global reach and accessibility (10)
gTLDs in general, and sTLDs in particular, are intended to serve
broad global communities. The mnemonic value of the name should
have broad global comprehension and appeal to the extent possible.
Proposals will receive a higher score the greater:
• The global distribution of communities served, and
• The global value of the proposed name.
5. Protect the rights of others (20)
New sTLDs have a responsibility to create policies and practices that
minimize abusive registration activities and other activities that affect
the legal rights of others. This is often easier for sTLDs than for
uTLDs since registrants are limited to defined communities of individuals
or institutions, which participate in the formulation of policies for
the sTLD. sTLDs are required to implement safeguards against allowing
unqualified registrations, and to ensure compliance with other ICANN
policies designed to protect rights of others.
Proposals will receive a higher score the more they protect rights
of those with claims on those domain names, whether or not those claims
lead to possession of those names.
(a) Assurance of charter-compliant registrations and avoidance
of abusive registration practices (8)
Operators of sTLDs are expected to implement safeguards to ensure
that non-compliant applicants cannot register domain names. Proposals
will receive a higher score the more that precise and adequate measures
are proposed to:
• Discourage registration of domain names that infringe intellectual
• Ensure that only charter-compliant persons or entities (that
is, members of the Sponsored TLD Community (see subsection
2(a) above) are able to register domain names in the proposed
• Minimize abusive registrations;
• Comply with applicable trademark and anti-cybersquatting legislation;
• Provide protections (other than exceptions that may be applicable
during the start-up period) for famous trademarks.
(b) Assurance of adequate dispute-resolution mechanisms (6)
All gTLDs are expected to adhere to the ICANN Uniform Dispute Resolution
Policy. Particular dispute resolution mechanisms may be implemented
to support particular situations, such as priority of acceptance
of applicants in competition for the same name during start-up periods.
Proposals will receive a higher score the more fully they propose
• Implement the ICANN Uniform Dispute Resolution Policy; and
• Where applicable, supplement the UDRP with policies or procedures
that apply to the particular situations of the sTLD.
(c) Provision of ICANN-policy compliant Whois service (6)
All gTLDs must provide accessible Whois database services to provide
legitimate information on registrants for purposes that are in compliance
with ICANN policies. Proposals will receive a higher score the more
fully and convincingly they plan for a complete, up-to-date, reliable,
and conveniently accessible Whois database of all registrations
in the sTLD, compliant with ICANN policies. Such implementations
must also comply with emerging ICANN privacy policies in this area,
if and when they become approved.
6. Provide complete and well-structured applications
Proposals must be complete in responding to the stated requirements
and in providing all required information. Proposals must also be well
structured to allow for ease of evaluation, following the proscribed
concerning the layout, construction and functionality of this site
should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
©2003 The Internet Corporation for
Assigned Names and Numbers. All rights reserved.