[Draft] Application Instructions for the .org Top-Level Domain

Posted: 1 May 2002

Warning: This document is a DRAFT. It is scheduled to be finalized on 20 May 2002.

[Draft] Application Instructions for the .org Top-Level Domain

A1. On 31 December 2002, the current registry agreement under which the .org top-level domain (TLD) is operated expires. Accordingly, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is soliciting proposals from entities seeking to assume responsibility for operating the registry for the .org TLD beginning at the expiration.


A2. The .org registry currently holds over 2,700,000 registered domain names. The requirements for operating a TLD registry of this scale are very stringent. It is highly likely that the successor operator will be an organization that has demonstrated capability to operate a domain-name registry of significant scale, either on its own or through firmly established and well-documented outsourcing arrangements. Accordingly, organizations considering whether to apply to become the successor operator should ensure they have the necessary capabilities.

A3. The fee for having an application even considered is US$ 35,000 (with a possible rebate, see section VIII below), and your own cost of formulating a proposal and preparing an adequate application will likely be much more that. It is likely that several applications will be received. There is no guarantee that your application will be selected from among these applications.

A4. If your application is selected, you will be required to enter into a registry agreement with ICANN concerning your operation of the .org registry. The form of the agreement is posted on the ICANN web site; please note that several appendices must be prepared and agreed between you and ICANN based on the details of your proposal. If agreement is not reached on the registry agreement and its appendices, ICANN reserves the right to make another selection of the organization that will become the successor operator.

A5. Before deciding whether to apply, we strongly recommend that you do all of the following:

A5.1. Read these instructions completely and be sure you thoroughly understand them.

A5.2. Carefully read the summary of the .org application process and schedule that appears in section II below.

A5.3. Familiarize yourself with the Criteria for Assessing Proposals document that is posted at <http://www.icann.org/tlds/org/criteria.htm>. That document summarizes some of the factors that ICANN will consider in evaluating applications and associated information.

A5.4. Secure the professional assistance of experts (technical, financial, legal, management etc.) to help you evaluate the chances that your application will be successful. If you decide to go forward with the application process, the help of these experts will be vital in formulating the proposal and preparing the application.

A5.5. Review all of the application materials thoroughly to ascertain what information you will need to assemble and what agreements you must make.


A6. On 22 April 2002, the ICANN Board established a target schedule for the application process. This schedule, which is intended to result in selection of a successor operator and completion of contractual arrangements in time for a transition on 1 January 2003, is subject to adjustments as future circumstances warrant. The schedule is as follows:

1 May 2002 - ICANN will post draft Request for Proposal (RFP) materials. These draft materials are subject to revision based on suggestions received, including from the ICANN Names Council (those comments are scheduled to be received by 13 May 2002). Even though these materials are not final, organizations wishing to apply should review them to begin working on their applications.

13 May 2002 - Deadline for prospective applicants to submit written questions to ICANN regarding the draft RFP. By this date, questions must be submitted in plaintext form by e-mail to <org-apps@icann.org>. These questions may include requests for additional information that applicants consider necessary to prepare their applications. The current operator of the .org top-level domain, VeriSign, Inc., has indicated that it will make reasonable efforts to supply ICANN with pertinent non-public data concerning registrations within the .org top-level domain, so that it can be made available to all applicants. Because of competitive considerations and legal requirements (including under the securities laws), however, prospective applicants will be required to enter into a non-disclosure agreement, enforceable by VeriSign, with respect to this non-public data.

20 May 2002 - Final version of RFP materials will be posted, including revisions of the draft materials based on suggestions received.

24 May 2002 - Written questions from prospective applicants (as submitted no later than 13 May) will be posted on the ICANN web site, with ICANN's responses to those questions. Those submitting questions may request anonymity, but substantive questions and responses will (absent extraordinary circumstances) be posted. Those sending questions should take this into account in framing their questions.

18 June 2002 - Deadline for submission of applications. Applications must include a completed, signed transmittal form, a proposal, a fitness disclosure, and payment of the US$ 35,000 interim examination fee. You must also submit a Statement of Requested Confidential Treatment of Materials Submitted, indicating either that you do not seek confidential treatment of any part of your application or specifying what confidential treatment you request. Please note that ICANN will agree to confidential treatment only in extraordinarily compelling circumstances.

As soon as feasible afterward - Applications will be posted on the ICANN web site. A mechanism will be provided to receive written comments from the public on the applications.

27 June 2002 - This is the date of the ICANN Public Forum to be held in Bucharest, Romania. A portion of the Public Forum will be devoted to discussion of the .org applications, including presentations by the applicants.

28 June 2002 - The ICANN Board will meet in Bucharest on this date. The Board will finally establish the examination fee based on the total number of applications received and estimated costs. The final examination fee will not exceed the interim fee of US$ 35,000; if it is less than the interim fee, the difference will be refunded to the applicants.

22 July 2002 - ICANN will post a draft evaluation report based on review and analysis of the applications by ICANN staff and specially engaged experts. A mechanism will be established for receiving written comments on the draft evaluation report, both from the applicants and from the public generally.

1 August 2002 - Deadline for comments on the draft evaluation report.

8 August 2002 - The Final Evaluation Report and Recommendation will be presented to the ICANN Board and posted on the ICANN web site.

Late August 2002 - The ICANN Board will select one of the applications, subject to completion of a mutually agreeable registry agreement.


A7. To apply, you must send a complete application to ICANN so that it arrives between 11 and 18 June 2002. If the complete application arrives at ICANN during this period, the date on which you submit your application will not affect the selection process.

A8. A complete application must include all of the following elements:

  • 8.1. A completed and signed .org Application Transmittal form.
  • 8.2. A separately bound and clearly labeled .org Proposal, with completed and signed cover sheet, attachments, accompanying materials.
  • 8.3. A completed and signed Fitness Disclosure, with any attachments.
  • 8.4. A completed and signed Statement of Requested Confidential Treatment of Materials Submitted, with any attachments. This statement clarifies whether or not you are requesting confidential treatment of any part of your application and, if you are, specifies which portion you want treated confidentially, the manner of confidential treatment you request, and the justification for the requested treatment. Please note that confidential treatment is strongly disfavored.
  • 8.5. Payment of the US$ 35,000 interim fee for examination of the application (see item A10 below).

A9. The first four of the above elements must be provided in hard copy. Items A8.1, A8.2, and A8.3 must also be provided in electronic form on one or more 3½" floppy diskettes (IBM high density) or on a CD-ROM in a common word-processing format and in HTML format.

A10. For your application to be treated as complete, you must pay the US$ 35,000 interim examination fee in full. Your application will only be considered upon full payment of this examination fee. We prefer you make the payment by check, but as an alternative you may make the payment by wire transfer.

A10.1. If you choose to pay by check, with your application you must send a check, drawn on a United States bank and payable to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), in the amount of 35,000 United States dollars.

A10.2. If you choose to pay by wire transfer, you must arrange for a wire transfer of 35,000 United States dollars to be sent to ICANN at the following account:

Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers
Account number 09142-07182
Routing indicator 121000358
Bank of America Branch 0914
4754 Admiralty Way
Marina del Rey, CA 90292 USA
Telephone +1/310/247-2080

Wire transfers must be received at least five business days before we receive your application and you must include a wire transfer receipt or other document identifying the wire transfer with your application.


A11. We strongly urge applicants to obtain the professional assistance of experts (technical, financial, legal, management, etc.) to help formulate the proposals and prepare the application.

A12. All applications should be submitted on A4 or 8½" x 11" paper, arranged and bound as stated in item A8 of these Instructions and in instructions contained in the various forms.

A13. Applications must be submitted in the English language. (Copies in other languages may be included for posting.)

A14. Carefully follow not only these general instructions, but any instructions stated in the application forms as well.

A15. ICANN seeks the fullest information from applicants. Thus, please provide as much detail as possible in response to the application questions. Be particularly attentive to providing full information with regard to your demonstrated technical capabilities, and the resources that you have available to run the registry, the nature of the registry services you propose to provide and the terms under which you propose to provide them, and your plan for transitioning from the current registry operator.

A16. In general, applications should answer each request in a numbered paragraph corresponding to the number of the question. Certain sections of the application forms require that the applicant submit a comprehensive plan that addresses the questions posed in the application. For these plans, applicants need not answer each request in a numbered paragraph corresponding to the number of the question so long as all of the topics on which information is requested are addressed in detail in the plan. If there is no answer available for a particular question, please indicate that fact next to the number corresponding to the question.

A17. Please Note: We strongly recommend that you go to the ICANN web site after the final version of the RFP materials are posted (scheduled for 20 May 2002) to familiarize yourself with any revisions made to the draft materials. Immediately before you finalize your application documents and send them in, you should go to the ICANN web site a second time and review each of the following documents to ensure that you are aware of any updates of them:

The documents listed there (including these instructions) will be revised as appropriate to reflect the most up-to-date information available. Your application must be submitted using the versions of items A17.3 through A17.6 that are in effect at the time you submit your application.


A18. Completed applications should be sent by mail, overnight delivery service, or courier directly to ICANN at the following address:

Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers
.org Applications
4676 Admiralty Way, Suite 330
Marina del Rey, CA 90292 USA
Telephone: +1 310 823-9358

A19. Applications sent via e-mail will not be accepted. Supporting hard-copy documents, the required electronic copies of the documents, and a check for the US$ 35,000 interim examination fee (or documents identifying a wire transfer you have already made) must accompany the application materials. To assist the ICANN staff in handling applications, we would appreciate notification by e-mail to <org-apps@icann.org> when sending an application that exceeds 30 kilograms (66 pounds).


A20. The complete application, including all forms, attachments, and accompanying materials, along with the check for the US$ 35,000 interim examination fee (or wire-transfer documentation), must be received by ICANN at its office in Marina del Rey during the period beginning 11 June 2002 and ending 18 June 2002. All materials must be received before 5:00 pm, California time, on 18 June 2002.


A21. ICANN intends to evaluate applications to become the successor operator for .org in as open and transparent a manner as feasible. At the same time, however, ICANN recognizes that to encourage applicants to provide all documents and information relevant to the application, it is appropriate to afford applicants the opportunity to submit legitimate trade-secret information (if any) with a request for confidential handling by ICANN.

A22. Except to the extent that it expressly agrees otherwise in writing, ICANN will be free to disclose and use information submitted in connection with an application in any manner and to anyone it deems appropriate. If the applicant wishes ICANN to accord confidential treatment to any material in its application or otherwise submitted in connection with the application, the applicant must expressly request confidential treatment of that material in the Statement of Requested Confidential Treatment of Materials Submitted that it submits. ICANN will review the request; unless ICANN and the applicant agree regarding confidential treatment of the affected material, it will be returned to the applicant and not considered as part of the application. Applicants are strongly encouraged to avoid, or at least to minimize, requests for confidential treatment of material in applications or submitted in connection with applications.

A23. For the procedure ICANN will use to handle requests for confidential treatment, please carefully review section I of the Statement of Requested Confidential Treatment of Materials Submitted.


A24. As noted above, every application must be accompanied by payment of a fee of US$ 35,000. This is only an examination fee to obtain consideration of your application. The amount of this fee has been established on an interim basis based on presently available cost information. At its meeting in Bucharest in late June 2002, the ICANN Board will consider, based on the information then available, the amount of the examination fee that should be finally established. The ICANN Board will establish the final examination fee, in an amount that will not exceed US$ 35,000, but otherwise determined in ICANN's sole discretion. In the event that the fee is finally established in an amount less than US$ 35,000, rebates will be paid to applicants.

A25. The US$ 35,000 interim examination fee will be refunded only in the following two circumstances: (a) a rebate is made in ICANN's sole discretion according to item A24 above and (b) in the event that you withdraw your application prior to its consideration because you and ICANN do not reach an agreement on confidential treatment of the application. (See section I of the Statement of Requested Confidential Treatment of Materials Submitted for details on this exception.) Under no circumstances will ICANN's failure to select your application be grounds for refund of all or any part of the examination fee.

A26. There is absolutely no assurance that your application will be selected for negotiations toward entry of an agreement under which you will become the successor registry operator or that, if your application is selected, the negotiations will lead to entry of such an agreement. Indeed, it is possible that ICANN may be prevented from selecting a successor registry operator due to legal or other reasons. By submitting an application, you fully assume the risk of all contingencies in the application, evaluation, and selection processes.


A27. ICANN will accept completed applications from 11 to 18 June 2002. Shortly after receiving your complete application, ICANN will send an e-mail to the e-mail address listed under item B14 of your .org Application Transmittal form.

A28. During the applications period, questions regarding the new TLD application process may be sent to <org-apps@icann.org>. To help provide all applicants with equitable access to information about the process as they prepare their applications, between the time of finalization of the RFP materials (scheduled for 20 May 2002) and the application deadline (scheduled for 18 June 2002) all requests to ICANN for information about the process or issues arising in preparation of an application must be submitted in written form (preferably by e-mail). Requests for personal or telephone consultations regarding these matters will not be granted.

A29. Ordinarily, any substantive responses to written questions submitted during the application period will be posted on the ICANN web site. Those sending questions should take this into account in framing their questions.

A30. ICANN intends to post complete applications it receives on the ICANN web site shortly after the application deadline (which is currently scheduled for 18 June 2002). Except to the extent that ICANN has agreed in writing to treat information confidentially, all materials submitted in connection with applications are subject to being posted on the ICANN web site. ICANN anticipates that it will seek comments from various groups and from the public generally on the applications that are received.

A31. Applicants should be prepared to give brief presentations on their proposals at the ICANN Public Forum scheduled to be held on 27 June 2002 in Bucharest, Romania. Any materials used in the presentation (such as PowerPoint presentations) must be submitted in electronic form immediately before the presentation.

A32. After the deadline for submission of applications (scheduled for 18 June 2002), ICANN will be evaluating all of the applications received. This process will involve not only reviewing what has been submitted, but also consulting with experts engaged by ICANN and gathering additional information that may be pertinent to the application.

A33. As needed, after the application deadline the ICANN evaluation team may gather additional information by sending applicants e-mails asking for the information or by other means. These inquiries will be initiated by the ICANN staff.

A34. Under the current schedule, in late-August 2002 the ICANN Board will select one of the applications for negotiation of a registry agreement under which the applicant will become the successor registry operator for the .org top-level domain. The agreement will be substantially in the form posted at <http://www.icann.org/en/tlds/org/draft-registry-agmt-01may02.htm> Some details, such as commitments to quality-of-service levels, registry services to be provided, pricing, and the plan for transition, will be incorporated in appendices to the agreement based on the statements in the application that is selected.

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