Application Instructions for the .org Top-Level Domain
Posted: 20 May 2002
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 model 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.
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 currently as follows:
A7. To apply, you must send a complete application to ICANN so that it arrives between 11 and 18 June 2002, inclusive. If the complete application arrives at ICANN during this period, the date on which you submit your application will not affect the selection process.
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 (a) in HTML format (merely using Microsoft Word's HTML conversion features is discouraged) and (b) in one of the following formats: Microsoft Word, WordPerfect, or plaintext.
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.
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.
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.
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 <firstname.lastname@example.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. If an addtional session for presentations at Bucharest is then planned for 25 or 26 June 2002, you will be notified of the arrangments for that session.
A28. During the applications period, questions regarding the new TLD application process may be sent to <email@example.com>. 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). During this period, applicant 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, and in a possible addtional presentation session on 25 or 26 June 2002 (see items A6 and A27 above). Any materials used in the presentations (such as PowerPoint presentations) must be submitted in electronic form immediately beforehand.
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/tlds/org/draft-registry-agmt.htm>, including the appendices linked from that document. 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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