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Independent Evaluators of sTLD proposals

Independent Evaluator - Technical

Independent Evaluator - Financial

Independent Evaluator - Sponsorship & Other Issues


Independent Evaluator - Technical

The evaluation of sTLD applications will be based upon submitted information concerning the Registry Operator's proposed technical solution. The application should demonstrate that the applicant has carefully analyzed the technical requirements of registry operation.

A panel member should have the ability to evaluate sTLD application based on the criteria below. That ability should be born of skills and experiences developed through the implementation, management and design of complex systems and demonstrated, at both standard-protocol and operational levels, understanding of the subtle features of the Domain Name System and how they are specified and work.

An evaluator must demonstrate the ability, based upon experience and education, to review system designs while considering the following:

  • General description of proposed facilities and systems, including all system locations; the specific types of systems being used; their capacity and interoperability, general availability and level of security. Consideration of, in appropriate detail buildings, hardware, software systems, environmental equipment and Internet connectivity,
  • Registry-registrar model and protocol,
  • The requirement to keep information synchronized across the various aspects of a TLD’s operations,
  • Implications of scalability, impacts on caches not under registry control, DNSSec operations and DNS reliability and scalability in the absence of DNSSec.
  • Database capabilities including database software, size, throughput, scalability, procedures for object creation, editing, and deletion, change notifications, registrar transfer procedures, grace period implementation and reporting capabilities,
  • Zone file generation including procedures for changes, editing by registrars and updates. Address frequency, security, process, interface, user authentication, logging and data back-up,
  • Zone file distribution and publication: locations of name servers, procedures for and means of distributing zone files to them,
  • Billing and collection systems: technical characteristics, system security, accessibility,
  • Backup: frequency and procedures for backup of data; hardware and systems used, data format, identity of suggested escrow agent(s) and procedures for retrieval of data/rebuild of database,
  • Data escrow: escrow arrangements, data formats, insurance arrangements and backup plans for data recovery,
  • Publicly accessible WHOIS service: address software and hardware, connection speed, search capabilities and coordination with other WHOIS systems,
  • System security and physical security: technical and physical capabilities and procedures to prevent system hacks, break-ins, data tampering and other disruptions to operations,
  • Peak capacities: technical capability for handling a larger-than-projected demand for registration or load; effects of load on servers, databases, back-up systems, support systems, escrow systems, maintenance and personnel,
  • System reliability: define, analyze and quantify quality of planned service.
  • System outage prevention: procedures for problem detection, redundancy of all systems, backup power supply, facility security and technical security; the availability of backup software, operating system and hardware; the system monitoring, technical maintenance staff and server locations.
  • System recovery procedures: procedures for restoring the system to operation in the event of a system outage, both expected and unexpected; redundant/diverse systems for providing service in the event of an outage and describe the process for recovery from various types of failures; training of technical staff who will perform these tasks; the availability and backup of software and operating systems needed to restore the system to operation and the availability of the hardware needed to restore and run the system; backup electrical power systems and the projected time for system restoration; procedures for testing the process of restoring the system to operation in the event of an outage; documentation kept on system outages and on potential system problems that could result in outages, and
  • Technical and other support: support for registrars and for Internet users and registrants; technical help systems, personnel accessibility, web-based, telephone and other support services to be offered; time availability of support and language-availability of support.


Independent Evaluator - Financial

The independent evaluators will review the Business Plan for the proposed registries. The evaluator must possess that combination of business and domain name system related experience and education that will enable the evaluation of each of the criteria in a business plan that describes:

  • The full description of registry services to be provided,
  • An outline of anticipated cost and capital requirements,
  • Cost analyses and a revenue model,
  • The availability of capital including sources of start-up and expansion funds,
  • A marketing plan including a brief market analysis, reasonable projections and forecast,
  • An appropriate pricing model,
  • A resource requirements projection, and
  • Risk analysis, a disaster recovery plan and contingency provisions.

The evaluator should be able to read, understand and adjudge the soundness of the documents listed below:

  • Evidence of financial and economic standing through statements from bankers or investors, balance sheets, or other certified financial statements,
  • Evidence of performance bonding, including the provider name and address, and coverage amounts, or financial evidence of self-bonding, and
  • Copies of recently performed external, independent audits.

In particular, the evaluator must be capable of gauging the effectiveness of an operational model, judging the validity and soundness of descriptions and amounts of estimated costs accompanying the sTLD Business Plan including:

  • Titles and functions of the senior management team, for example, Executive Team: President, General Counsel, or Administration: Finance, Human Resources,
  • Salaries must include all salary related expenses such as bonuses, benefits and taxes paid,
  • Outsourced services, potential suppliers or partners,
  • Travel required,
  • Facilities, including locations and all occupancy costs such as leasing and insurance,
  • Hardware and systems, along with the adequacy of system capacity,
  • The sources of start-up and follow-on capital,
  • Operational income amounts, projected sales and penetration estimates, and the pricing model, and
  • Revenue from other sources including evidence of the stability of those sources.


Independent Evaluator – Sponsorship & Other Issues


Evaluation of this component of the sTLD applications will be based upon information concerning the nature of the proposed Sponsorship and its potential impact on the global Internet community, including the rights of others. The panel, as a whole, should Reflect a breadth of experience gained from working in different non-profit and for-profit communities;

  • Include expertise on domain name issues;
  • Possess familiarity with the legal issues that can arise in connection with starting and running a registry; and
  • Display a combination of broad-based community, technology and legal skills necessary to analytically evaluate each application.

    Each panel member should have significant and broad experience working with technology issues from a community-based, non-profit, policy or legal perspective. Each Evaluator must demonstrate the ability, based upon experience and education, to review and judge the following criteria:

    1. Does the proposed sTLD meet the definition of a Sponsored TLD Community?
      a. Has the Applicant established that there is a “clearly defined community?”
      b. If the Applicant has demonstrated that the Sponsored TLD Community is precisely defined, can it readily be determined which persons or entities make up the Community?
      c. Does the proposed sTLD address the needs and interests of the people making up the Community?
      d. If the Sponsored TLD Community is comprised of persons that have needs and interests in common, are they differentiated from those of the general global Internet community?
      e. Does the Sponsored TLD Community benefit from the establishment of a TLD operating in a policy formulation environment?
      f. Is the Sponsored TLD Community able to participate in this policy formation environment?
    2. Is there evidence of support from the Sponsoring Organization?
      a. Has the Applicant provided evidence of support for its application from the Sponsoring Organization?
    3. Has the Applicant demonstrated the appropriateness of both the Sponsoring Organization and the policy formulation environment?
      a. Does the explanation of the policy-formulation procedures demonstrate that the sTLD operates primarily in the interests of the Sponsored TLD Community?
      b. Does the explanation of the policy-formulation procedures demonstrate that the sTLD has a clearly defined delegated policy-formation role and is appropriate to the needs of the Sponsored TLD Community?
      c. Does the explanation of the policy-formulation procedures demonstrate that the sTLD has defined mechanisms to ensure that approved policies are primarily in the interests of the Sponsored TLD Community?
    4. Is there broad-based support from the community the Sponsored TLD is intended to represent?
      a. Is there evidence of support for the application from the Sponsoring Organization:
      1. For the sTLD;
      2. For the Sponsoring Organization; and
      3. For the proposed policy-formation process?
      b. Is there an outreach program that illustrates the Sponsoring Organization’s capacity to represent a wide range of interests within the Community?
    5. Does launching the new sTLD add new value to the Internet name space?
      a. Is the sTLD name of broad significance and does it establish clear and lasting value?
      b. Is the name appropriate to the defined community?
      c. Has the Applicant demonstrated that its proposal:
      1. Categorizes a broad and lasting field of human, institutional, or social endeavor or activity?
      2. Represents an endeavor or activity that has importance across multiple geographic regions?
      3. Has lasting value? And
      4. Is appropriate to the scope of the proposed Sponsored TLD Community?

    6. Does the proposed new sTLD enhance diversity of the Internet name space?
      a. Does the proposed new sTLD create a new and clearly differentiated space?
      b. Does the proposed new sTLD satisfy needs that cannot be readily met through the existing TLDs?
      c. Does the proposed new sTLD enhance competition in registry services?
      d. Has the Applicant demonstrated that its proposal:
      1. 1. Is clearly differentiated from existing TLDs?
      2. Meets needs that cannot reasonably be met in existing TLDs at the second level?
      3. Attracts new supplier and user communities to the Internet and delivers choice to end-users? And
      4. Enhances competition in domain-name registration services, including competition with existing TLD registries?
    7. Does the proposed new sTLD enrich broad global communities?
      a. Does the proposed new sTLD have broad geographic and demographic impact?
      b. Does the proposed new sTLD serve a larger user community and appear likely to attract a greater number of registrants?
      c. Does the proposed new sTLD’s charter have relatively broader functional scope?
    8. Does the proposed sTLD protect the rights of others?
      a. Do its policies and practices minimize abusive registration activities and other activities that affect the legal rights of others?
      b. Are there safeguards against allowing unqualified registrations, and to ensure compliance with other ICANN policies designed to protect the rights of others?
    9. Is there an assurance of charter-compliant registrations and avoidance of abusive registration practices?
      a. Are there safeguards to ensure that non-compliant applicants cannot register domain names?
      b. Are there precise measures that:
      1. Discourage registration of domain names that infringe intellectual property rights?
      2. Ensure that only charter-compliant persons or entities (that is, legitimate members of the Sponsored TLD Community) are able to register domain names in the proposed new sTLD?
      3. Reserve specific names to prevent inappropriate name registrations?
      4. Minimize abusive registrations?
      5. Comply with applicable trademark and anti-cybersquatting legislation; and
      6. Provide protections (other than exceptions that may be applicable during the start-up period) for famous name and trademark owners?
    10. Is there an assurance of adequate dispute-resolution mechanisms?
      a. Has Applicant demonstrated that its proposal will implement the ICANN UDRP?
      b. Has Applicant demonstrated that, where applicable, its proposal will supplement the UDRP with policies or procedures that apply to the particular characteristics of the sTLD?
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