TLD Application Process FAQs



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(Please note that in some cases the questions in the following FAQs have been edited to generalize them or otherwise to provide information of greater general interest.)

FAQ #1: What is the process for obtaining information about how to apply to sponsor or operate a new TLD?

ICANN will make various information for applicants available on its web site. The information can be accessed through the web page at <http://www.icann.org/tlds/tld-application-process.htm>. This information will include various explanatory materials as well as application forms.

If you have a question before 3 October 2000 about the TLD application process that, after carefully reviewing the posted materials, you feel has not yet been answered, you may submit that question by e-mail to tld-applications@icann.org. To help provide all applicants with equitable access to information about the process as they prepare their applications, it is ICANN's practice to respond to questions about applications during the application period only when they are submitted in writing. Please do not attempt to get additional information by calling or visiting our offices.

We will periodically review the questions submitted and, if a response is appropriate, we will post the question (or an edited version of it, if we feel that would be more informative) along with our responses on this web page. Please watch this web page to see any response to your question. We will not be replying separately to e-mail inquiries.

We may also create and publish other FAQs on this page as we become aware of points that should be clarified.

Please note that any question that you submit to tld-applications@icann.org is subject to being published verbatim on this web page. If you do not wish to publish an idea you have to the world, you should not include it in your question.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Those seeking information about the possibility of registering domain names within an existing or to-be-created TLD should direct their questions to icann@icann.org. Questions of this character should not be sent to the tld-applications mailbox.

FAQ #2: My TLD concept is complicated, and I feel I need to meet with ICANN to explain it. How do I do that?

After the close of the application period on 2 October 2000, ICANN staff will be evaluating all of the applications received. This process will involve not only reviewing what has been submitted, but also consulting with technical, financial, business, and legal experts and gathering additional information that may be pertinent to the application.

As needed, after the application period is concluded the ICANN staff may gather additional information by sending applicants e-mails asking for the information, by conducting telephone or in-person interviews with applicants, by attending (possibly with ICANN-retained experts) presentations by applicants or their experts, or by other means. These inquiries will be initiated by the ICANN staff; if you feel a presentation to ICANN is necessary to properly present your proposal you should suggest that in your written application.

FAQ #3:

(A) I represent a fairly large ISP & newly forming open source registrars' group that is also interested in possibly creating a new TLD. How do I know what TLD is being spoken for? The US$ 50,000 application fee is not a problem, but I don't want to waste it on a TLD that already has been dealt with or is being processed.

(B) Recently I'm drawing an Chinese DNS standard and require information about DNS, especially TLDs. As I know, ICANN issued new TLDs recently during the meeting in Yokohama, and I want to know what are these new TLDs.

In Yokohama, the ICANN Board adopted a policy that will allow the introduction of new TLDs, which will probably become operational next year. However, no particular TLDs were approved in Yokohama. The TLDs that are presently in effect are described in the "Present Structure of the Domain-Name System" section of the "Introduction of New Top-Level Domains" document published in advance of the Yokohama meeting.

FAQ #4: Will the date I submit my application matter if multiple candidates apply for the same name(s)? Do applicants who submit their applications earlier get priority with everything else equal?

You must submit your complete application to ICANN by the 2 October 2000 deadline. If you do so, the date on which you submit your application will not affect the selection process. In other words, the date you apply makes no difference (as long as you get your application in on time).

FAQ #5: Is it correct to assume that new TLDs to be considered by ICANN may utilize non-ASCII characters in both the name of the TLD and in name components ("labels") hierarchically below it?

No. Domain names are used as identifiers in a variety of protocols and applications that conform to them. These protocols expect the identifiers they use to conform to a very narrow definition, which has been established in the Internet for over 25 years. Use of names that do not conform to the narrowest of the rules and conventions is known to cause operability and interoperability problems. The format is described in several places, most importantly section 3 of RFC 1034 and section 2.1 of RFC 1123 (both full Internet Standards).

Specifically, applications expect domain names that are composed only of the letters A to Z (interpreted in a case-independent fashion), digits, hyphens, and the period, all coded according to the rules of the "ASCII" character set (the "basic version" character coding specified in ISO 646). The period is used only to separate name components (called "labels" in the DNS). Labels may not start or end with a hyphen or be more than 63 characters in length; top-level domain names (i.e. the rightmost label in a name) may not start with a digit.

At this time, ICANN will only establish top-level domains having names that comply with the above format. Registries will be expected similarly to follow that format for the names they register.

The Internationalized Domain Name (IDN) Working Group of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) is charged with specifying the requirements for internationalized access to domain names and a standards track protocol and encodings, based on those requirements, which will adequately respond to applications restrictions. When IDN's work is complete, the above name-formation requirements might be modified.

See FAQ #9 and FAQ #36 for related information.

FAQ #6: Will applications submitted after 2 October 2000 (around December or early next year) be considered?

The current activity (in calling for proposals to sponsor or operate new TLDs) is part of a "proof of concept" program in which various ideas for new TLDs will be tested in actual practice. The plan is to introduce a limited number of new TLDs in a measured and responsible manner and then to evaluate how the introduction fared.

To be included in this proof-of-concept program, applications must be received by 2 October 2000. Based on evaluation of how things proceed, next steps will be decided, and later applications might then be accepted.

FAQ #7: How can I arrange for ICANN to send me a hard copy of the application form?

You can't. Applications will consist primarily of comprehensive technical, business, and policy proposals prepared by or for the applicant. There will also be various forms to be submitted, which are scheduled to be available on the ICANN web site on 15 August 2000. Once these are available, you should print them, fill them out, and submit them as part of your overall application.

FAQ #8: In some jurisdictions, it is a long process to authorise a not-for-profit corporation. Will ICANN accept an application for which the temporary applicant is an ordinary corporation with the intent to convert it to a not-for-profit corp? Such an authorisation may be conditional upon the conversion prior to fully implementing the registry.

The appropriate course in this situarion depends on whether the to-be-formed not-for-profit corporation is proposed to be a sponsoring organization (the usual case), the registry operator, or both.

A proposed sponsoring organization need not actually be formed at the time that the application is made. The application for a sponsored TLD can be made by those proposing to form the sponsoring organization. Of course, formation must be complete before the organization enters a TLD sponsorship agreement with ICANN. Ordinarily, ICANN's decision to delegate to a sponsoring organization will be made based partly on the characteristics of the proposed organization, and that organization should be the one that will serve as the sponsoring organization throughout the period of the requested delegation.

In contrast, the registry operator's proposal should be submitted by an existing organization. As with sponsoring organizations, ICANN's decision to delegate to a registry operator will be made based partly on the characteristics of the operator. The proposed operator should be the one that is proposed for the entire period of the requested delegation.

See FAQ #12 for related information.

FAQ #9: If a restricted TLD were to be the subject of an application, would ICANN accept a TLD name in ASCII letters which are conversions from another symbolic system to Roman letters?

A TLD name must conform to format requirements summarized in FAQ #5. Provided it does, it can be a transliteration having meaning in another symbolic system. For example, .san (transliterated from Japanese) would acceptable as the name of a TLD for personal-use domain names.

FAQ #10: Will there at any time be the opportunity to secure an extended window to lodge an application or the posibility of securing some sort of option over the right to lodge an application? The very short time frame within which to lodge applications is short.

The current application process is part of a "proof of concept" program that is intended to involve introduction of only a limited number of new TLDs. In recognition of the limited recent experience in introducing new TLDs, the program is meant to allow the Internet community to evaluate possible additions and enhancements to the DNS and possible methods of implementing them. After these initial introductions, decisions can be made about evolution of the DNS (including new TLDs) based on the experience gained. While it would not be appropriate to prejudge those decisions, they may involve seeking additional applications in the future.

FAQ #11: One might think that all applicants must be not-for-profit organizations. Is this understanding correct?

No. Depending on the type of TLD being proposed (sponsored or unsponsored), the applicant will be either a sponsoring organization or a registry operator. For discussions of the role of each, see the Sponsored and Unsponsored TLDs section of the New TLD Application Process Overview document and criteria 7 in the Criteria for Assessing TLD Proposals document. Each organization should have characteristics (not-for-profit, for-profit, etc.) appropriate to its role within the overall context of the proposal.

FAQ #12: Can multiple organizations make an application to sponsor a TLD?

Yes, in the situation where the sponsoring organization is not yet formed. See, for example, item A1 on the Sponsored TLD Application Transmittal Form and Instruction I9.2. In all other situations, there should be only a single applicant. For related information, see FAQ #8.

FAQ #13: I have the question about paying the US$50,000 fee. If the application is not granted, is ICANN giving the US$50,000 back?

No. The fee is only an application fee, in exchange for which ICANN will review your application. ICANN will keep your fee even if it does not grant your application.

There is only one situation in which your application fee might be returned. If you claim your application contains confidential information and ICANN disagrees, ICANN will delete the information before reviewing your application on the merits. In this situation, you will be offered the opportunity to withdraw the application and obtain a refund of the US$50,000 application fee. See section I of the Statement of Requested Confidential Treatment of Materials Submitted for details.

FAQ #14: If the application is granted by ICANN, is ICANN keeping the fee?

Yes. Applications will be granted only after review and evaluation by ICANN. The fee is designed to defray ICANN's costs associated with processing and and evaluiating the applications, and follow-up.

Please note that ICANN recovers its costs of operation from domain-name and IP-address registries and registrars. Those preparing Registry Operator Proposals should factor their share (if the application is accepted) of ICANN's cost-recovery needs into their business model.

FAQ #15: Why is the application fee so high? Aren't you going to prevent non-profit TLD registry proposals by requiring such a steep application fee?

As a small non-profit organization, ICANN must conduct its activities so they are essentially self-funding, on the principle of cost-recovery. For example, the accreditation process for .com, .net, and .org registrars is funded through application and accreditation fees paid by those registrars. Likewise, the new-TLD-application process must be self-funding. This process will include very intensive review and analysis of applications on many levels (including technical, financial, legal, etc.). The application fee was set at a level intended to cover all of ICANN's costs related to the process. It would not be justifiable to require existing registries and registrars to subsidize the process.

In establishing the fee, ICANN's Board was concerned that the application fee might discourage some applications for special-purpose restricted TLDs. However, a multi-tiered fee structure would mean that some applicants would subsidize the application-review costs of others. This would be particularly unfair because of difficulties in distinguishing between for-profit and non-profit proposals in the global context. Accordingly, a single, cost-recovery-based application fee has been adopted for this year's new-TLD-application process.

FAQ #16: ICANN states clearly its intention to create competition among gTLD registries as it did with registrars. Will ICANN grant an application for a new registry for an existing gTLD like .com, .net, or .org?

No. The current program involves the evaluation of applications to sponsor or operate "new TLDs," not existing ones. As stated in the New TLD Application Process Overview document, "The adopted policy calls for submission of proposals to sponsor or operate new TLDs by interested persons and organizations." There is no intent to upset arrangements for existing TLDs through this program.

FAQ #17: My group is dissatisfied with the operation of the two-letter ccTLD that has been assigned to our country. We would like to apply to operate a registry for that ccTLD. Should we submit an application under the New TLD program?

No. The New TLD Application Process involves establishing new TLDs, not changing the delegation of existing ones. Applications in the New TLD program should not seek TLD strings that match alpha-2 codes on the ISO 3166-1 list.

See FAQ #21 and FAQ #24 for related information.

FAQ #18: If we go through all the effort to apply for a top level domain, who owns it? What could potentially happen to change ownership?

Top-level domains are established for the benefit of the Internet community. Their operation is delegated to particular organizations based on a showing that doing so is in the best interests of the Internet community. An operator does not "own" a top-level domain. As noted in RFC 1591 (written by Jon Postel in 1994 and entitled "Domain Name System Structure and Delegation"): "Concerns about 'rights' and 'ownership' of domains are inappropriate. It is appropriate to be concerned about 'responsibilities' and 'service' to the community."

It is anticipated that TLD registry agreements will provide that, if a registry operator fails to meet its service obligations, the agreement may be terminated. In their proposals, sponsoring organizations and registry operators should state the term they are suggesting and explain why they believe that term would best serve the interest of the Internet community. See, for example, item D13.2.10 of the Registry Operator's Proposal.

See FAQ #39 for similar information concerning sponsored TLDs.

FAQ #19: Is the non-refundable US$ 50,000 application fee per TLD or per idea? In other words, if I apply for multiple TLD strings is that one or many applications?

It is US$ 50,000 per application. Section VIII of the New TLD Application Instructions discusses the circumstances in which a single application can propose multiple TLD strings.

FAQ #20: I am planning to submit an application to ICANN for a new TLD. I would like to submit my application in writing. What address should I send my application to?

This information is provided in item I22 of the New TLD Application Instructions. Persons considering submitting an application are urged to carefully review that document as well as the instructions stated in the applications. Failure to follow all of the instructions can lead to denial of your application.

FAQ #21: Will an application which accidentally proposes a TLD that is an alpha-3 code on the ISO-3166-1 list fail?

As stated in FAQ #17, applications in the New TLD program should not seek TLD strings that match alpha-2 codes on the ISO 3166-1 list. There is no similar, automatic disqualification on alpha-3 codes on the ISO 3166-1 list.

See FAQ #24 for a follow-up question.

FAQ #22: What is the procedure in the event of duplicate submission of a domain name by different parties? Which party would get preference? Would the fee be non-refundable for the party that is not selected?

Applications to sponsor or operate a TLD will be evaluated according to the Criteria for Assessing TLD Proposals, under which all aspects of the proposal (operational, financial, technical, etc.) will be considered. The particular TLD string requested is only one of many factors in the evaluation. Clearly, the same TLD cannot be established for both proposals; differences between the applications would be considered according to the criteria. The fee paid by a non-selected applicant would not be refundable.

FAQ #23: Will two (or more) parties that apply for a TLD in related fields or that propose identical plans be asked to negotiate to present a joint proposal?

Although it is possible that negotiations toward a joint proposal would be urged depending on the circumstances, applicants should not assume that ICANN will request or require such negotiations. Applicants should consider discussing their proposals with other interested members of the community before submitting them.

FAQ #24: FAQ #21 states that there is no "automatic disqualification" of applications proposing TLD labels that are alpha-3 codes on ISO 3166-1 list. Is this the correct even if a ccTLD has been established for the corresponding alpha-2 code on the ISO 3166-1 list?

Yes, it is correct that there is no automatic disqualification. Please take note, however, of consideration 4(b) in the Criteria for Assessing TLD Proposals, which states:

b. Is the proposed TLD semantically "far" from existing TLDs, so that confusion is avoided? (For example, TLD labels suggesting similar meanings might be more easily confused.) Is it phonetically distinct from existing TLDs? Meanings and pronunciations in different languages may be relevant to these inquiries.

In this context, "existing TLDs" includes ccTLDs that have been established.

FAQ #25: We are an established not-for-profit institute that wishes to sponsor a chartered TLD. However, we feel that the eventual formation of an international sponsoring organization would be best for this chartered TLD. We would therefore like to propose our institute as the sponsoring organization pro tem, with a well-defined schedule for the establishment of the international sponsoring organization (as negotiated with ICANN). Would such a proposal be acceptable to ICANN?

Assuming that a proposal qualifies in other respects, the fact that the proposed sponsoring organization has not yet been formed should not disqualify the proposal. As noted in section 1(c)(i) of the New TLD Application Process Overview, "Where the proposed sponsoring organization has not yet been formed, the submission may be made by the organizers of that organization." Thus, it would be appropriate to have a proposal under which your not-for-profit institute would propose to establish the international sponsoring organization. If you wish your proposal to be evaluated based on the appropriateness of the to-be-formed international organization (rather than the institute) as sponsor, we recommend that your proposal include plans to form the organization before completion of any contract negotiations with ICANN. The proposed organization could be affiliated initially with your institute, with a spin-off scheduled for a later time.

In submitting your application, you should check the box in item A1 of the Sponsored TLD Application Transmittal Form next to "Organization(s) or person(s) proposing to form the sponsoring organization (check this item only if the sponsoring organization has not yet been formed)." Section I of the Sponsoring Organization's Proposal should be completed to give the information for the sponsoring organization that is proposed (i.e. the one to be formed).

FAQ #26: Will existing ICANN-accredited registrars for .com, .net, and .org be able to act as registrars in the new TLDs?

The type of channels used for registrations in a TLD is only one of many factors that will be considered in determining whether to select a proposal for negotiations toward possible establishment of a TLD. For a discussion of some relevant factors that may pertain to the considerations raised by your question, see Criteria for Assessing TLD Proposals, and particularly "the enhancement of competition for registration services" (factor 3).

See FAQ #38 for related information.

FAQ #27: Can the floppy diskette requirement be expanded to allow softcopy submission on CD?

Yes, it can. Thanks for the great suggestion! We have already changed the documents to make this change.

See FAQ #40 for related information.

FAQ #28: Can you provide any estimate on the timing for the "proof of concept" phase for new TLDs, and when the next opportunity to propose TLDs after this initial phase will be?

There is not yet any date that has been scheduled for a "next round," and at present we have no predictions as to the schedule. In the current round of applications, applicants are requested to describe the value of their proposals as proofs of concept. Item E30 of the Description of TLD Policies requests suggestions for how the results of the introduction being proposed should be evaluated. Once a decision is made on the evaluation procedure to be used for TLDs introduced in the current round, the timing of future steps should become clearer.

See FAQ #54 for related information.

FAQ #29: We would like to provide an Executive Summary of our TLD proposal (perhaps 1 to 3 pages in length) that describes the motivation and overall goals of the TLD. Where should such a summary be placed in the application? Perhaps as a cover letter?

We suggest that you attach it to your Description of TLD Policies. Before item E1 on your description, you should type in a statement such as "An Executive Summary of this proposal is attached."

Materials that you wish ICANN to consider in support of your application should be included in the body of your application materials (i.e. your transmittal form, the Sponsoring Organization's Proposal, the Registry Operator's Proposal, the Description of TLD Policies, the fitness disclosures, or the Statement of Requested Confidential Treatment) or as a referenced attachment, not in an unreferenced, separate cover letter.

FAQ #30: Item (c) under factor 8 of the Criteria for Assessing TLD Proposals states that when evaluating proposals ICANN will examine: "c. Has the proponent considered intellectual property interests or otherwise designed protections for third-party interests?" What types of intellectual-property protections should be included?

Applicants should propose measures they believe are appropriate to protect intellectual property and other third-party interests. The types of protections that are appropriate will depend, to some extent, on the nature of the TLD and other circumstances. Applicants should anticipate that one of the topics of public comments on their proposals will be the appropriateness of the protections they propose.

In preparing their proposals, applicants may wish to consult the materials prepared by the ICANN DNSO Intellectual Property Constituency (IPC) and posted on the IPC website. These are the views of the IPC only.

FAQ #31: What TLDs are already established?

Presently, there are seven traditional "generic" TLDs (.com, .edu, .gov, .int, .mil, .net, and .org), nearly 250 two-character "country-code" TLDs, and one infrastructure TLD (.arpa).

For a more detailed description of the present TLDs, see the detailed topic paper on TLDs prepared in advance of the ICANN Yokohama meeting.

FAQ #32: I'm investigating the possibility of two companies (parent companies) with complimentary capabilities forming a jointly held company (joint venture) to operate a new non-sponsored TLD registry. The joint venture would not have any operational experience and history. Am I correct in assuming that the Registry Operator's Proposal should describe the data and history for the two parent companies? Also, will ICANN consider the application if the joint venture is not yet established when the application is sent?

A Registry Operator's Proposal must be submitted by a proposed registry operator that is in existence (i.e. has already been formed) at the time the proposal is signed and submitted. Note that the proposed registry operator should be an organization, such as a corporation, having the ability to enter legally binding contracts.

The Registry Operator's Proposal should describe the capabilities of the entity proposed actually to serve as registry operator. In the circumstances you describe, that could be done by describing the data and history of the parent companies and by providing documentation that the parent companies are firmly committed to transferring their relevant operational units to the newly formed entity.

FAQ #33: How do I pay the application fee?

When they were first posted, the instructions required that the non-refundable application fee be paid by check. That is still the payment method we prefer that you use. However, for the convenience of those that may have difficulty in obtaining a check drawn on a United States bank, we have decided to permit payment by wire transfer. In either case, because your application will only be considered once we are satisfied you have fully paid the application fee, it is vital that you follow the payment instructions exactly:

  • 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 50,000 United States dollars.
  • If you choose to pay by wire transfer, you must arrange for the wire transfer to be sent to ICANN at the following account:

Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers
Account number 09141-04900
Routing indicator 121000358
Bank of America Branch 0914
4754 Admiralty Way
Marina del Rey, CA 90292 USA
Telephone +1/310/247-2080

We must receive wire transfers 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.

See FAQ #57 for related information.

FAQ #34: Where can I obtain a list of the parties that previously submitted a letter of interest and brief proposal to operate/sponsor a new gTLD?

For a list of expressions of interest received in the period leading up to the ICANN meeting in Yokohama, click here.

See FAQ #49 for related information.

FAQ #35: Can I propose to act as both the registry operator also a registrar?

Applicants should describe the marketing channels they are proposing. See item D13.2.4 of the Registry Operator's Proposal. A proposal to act as both registry operator and registrar is not forbidden, though that feature may affect how your proposal is evaluated. In formulating recommendations for the ICANN Board, the ICANN staff currently intends to consider at least the factors stated in the Criteria for Assessing TLD Proposals, including factor 3: "The enhancement of competition for registration services."

FAQ #36: In your response to FAQ #5, regarding the use of non-ASCII characters in a TLD string, you stated, "top-level domain names… may not start with a digit." Having conducted research into this specific area, we have proven (just by the adoption of simple policies that can be applied at the registry level) that it is possible to operate a TLD with a digit as the first character while maintaining the stable operation of the DNS, and we believe that a proposal of this sort "might increase the utility of the DNS." Can the no-beginning-digit statement of FAQ #5 be relaxed?

Not at this time. It is important to Internet stability that DNS names conform to the relatively narrow format rules and conventions stated in the RFCs because, among other things, application developers have relied on those format rules and conventions in designing, implementing, and testing software that handles DNS names. Although the statements in RFC 1034 and section 2.1 of RFC 1123 (cited in the response to FAQ #5) might, standing alone, be subject to differing interpretations, subsequent RFCs have interpreted those RFCs to prohibit TLD labels starting with digits. See RFC 2396, pages 13-14 (August 1998); RFC 1738, page 6 (December 1994). At least one of these RFCs has been available to software developers for over five years.

If the no-first-digit requirement for TLD labels is to be relaxed, it should be done through the IETF, which developed the documents articulating the requirement.

FAQ #37: It has been rumored that there is a financial backing requirement of $10,000,000. Can you please clarify these details? If not $10,000,000, what is the specific requirement?

There is no specific, fixed amount of firmly committed capital required. The level of capital will depend on the nature of the overall proposal. The Registry Operator's Proposal submitted with the application should contain a detailed analysis of capital requirements and demonstrate firm commitments for that capital. See Items D13.2.5, D13.2.13, and D13.4.4. As noted under factor 9 of the Criteria for Assessing TLD Proposals:

The ICANN staff intends to place significant emphasis on the completeness of the proposals and the extent to which they demonstrate that the applicant has a thorough understanding of what is involved, has carefully thought through all relevant issues, has realistically assessed the business, financial, technical, operational, and marketing requirements for implementing the proposal, has procured firm commitments for all necessary resources, and has formulated sound business and technical plans for executing the proposal.

FAQ #38: Is ICANN planning on establishing a general registrar accreditation process for all the new TLDs?

As noted in Item E4 of the Description of TLD Policies, an applicant for the operation or sponsorship of a new TLD should propose policies for selection of, and competition among, registrars concerning the TLD. That policy can include use of ICANN's accreditation program for the .com, .net, and .org or some alternative mechanism. Please refer to FAQ #26 for a discussion of the effect the proposed policies may have on evaluation of the application.

FAQ #39: In the case of a sponsored and restricted TLD where policy formulation is granted by ICANN, under which conditions may this delegation be
revoked? Are there precedents? What appeal mechanisms exist?

The conditions for revocation of the delegation of policy-formulation responsibility for a sponsored and restricted TLD would be set forth in an agreement between ICANN and the sponsoring organization (likely including a charter for the TLD). In general, violations by the sponsoring organization of the agreed conditions for the delegation, or a determination that the charter is no longer appropriate to the needs of the Internet community and should be revised or rescinded, could lead to revocation of the delegation. The terms of agreements will be discussed in negotiations after initial selections are made in November.

As noted in the Detailed Topic Paper prepared for the Yokohama meeting, in many respects the sponsorship paradigm is a generalization of the concepts underlying appointment of managers for ccTLDs under existing ccTLD delegation policy. The current policies in that regard are set forth in ICP-1.

ICANN decisions are subject to review by the ICANN Board under ICANN's reconsideration policy. One topic of the negotiations will be other "appeal" mechanisms.

FAQ #40: Assuming that the required HTML-format electronic copy of the specified parts of the application is for posting on the web site for public review, are other formats acceptable as long as they fulfill the same purpose of being publicly readable? Would you allow for PDF as an alternative/supplement to be posted on the site?

Applicants must provide electronic copies of the specified portions of their applicaitons in both HTML format and a common word-processing format. See Items I7 and I10 of the New TLD Application Instructions. Applicants may, if they choose, also submit those portions of their applications in PDF format. ICANN staff will decide whether to post the PDF format in addition to the HTML format once all the applications are received.

See FAQ #60 and FAQ #73 for related information.

FAQ #41: How many hard (i.e. paper) copies of the application should be submitted?

A single copy is sufficient.

FAQ #42: We are planning to propose a sponsored, restricted TLD. We propose that the sponsoring organization be responsible for making policies, assessing individual applications, informing the registry operator which applications meet the TLD's requirements and should be registered, providing customer support, and carrying out marketing. The sponsoring organization will be the profit center and the registry operator will be paid fees by the sponsor and receive an equity interest in the sponsor. Does this structure meet the structural requirements for running a TLD or do we have to place the marketing, advertising, and other operational functions in the hands of the registry operator?

The configuration of the proposed structure is up to the applicant. Please note, however, that sponsoring organizations are intended to allow participation of the affected segments of the relevant communities. As stated in the New TLD Application Process Overview:

The extent to which certain policy-formulation responsibilities are appropriately delegated to a sponsoring organization will depend upon the characteristics of the organization that may make such delegation appropriate. These characteristics may include the mechanisms the organization proposes to use to formulate policies, its mission, who will be permitted to participate and in what way, and the degree and type of accountability to the community it will serve (to the extent these are necessary and appropriate). The Sponsoring Organization's Proposal provides an opportunity to provide information on these characteristics.

FAQ #43: What period should the pro-forma financials included in the registry operator's business plan cover?

The registry operator's business plan required by Item D13.2 of the Registry Operator's Proposal, as well as the pro-form financial projections required by Item D13.3, should cover the entire term of registry agreement being proposed (see Item D13.2.10), but in any event need not be presented for more than four years. As noted in Item D13.3, the pro-forma projections should be broken down into periods no longer than quarterly.

FAQ #44: In Item D13.2.5 of the Registry Operator's Proposal you ask for projections of demand for registry services in the proposed new TLD "for at least 10%, 50%, and 90% confidence levels." What does this mean?

Proposed registry operators are requested to provide at least three estimates of the demand for registry services. One estimate (the 50% confidence estimate) should express the projection of demand that the registry operator concludes is equally likely to be exceeded as to be not met. The other two estimates (the 90% and 10% confidence estimates) should be nine times as likely to be exceeded as to be not met, and vice versa.

FAQ #45: The application transmittal forms (e.g., Items A13-A15 and B12-B14) limit ICANN's liabilities to the applicant unless and until the application is selected for negotiations, those negotiations are successfully concluded, and formal, written agreements are entered. What about the applicant's liabilities to ICANN? For example, the persons proposing to form a sponsoring organization may fail to successfully organize the sponsoring organisation (broad based, etc.) even though they may have started negotiations with ICANN. Would they be liable to ICANN (other than for the US$50,000 non-refundable application fee)?

The applicants must abide by the various obligations and certifications (concerning, as one example, truthful and complete disclosure) stated in the application materials. Assuming they do so, neither a sponsoring organization, its organizers, nor a registry operator incurs any monetary liability to ICANN by submitting the application, beyond the US$50,000 non-refundable application fee. In particular, submitting an application does not subject the applicants to liability for failing to properly form a sponsoring organization even though negotiations are commenced.

In the event that, after negotiations, formal written agreements are reached, those agreements will specify the obligations of the selected sponsoring organizations and registry operators to ICANN. Sponsoring organizations must be formed before agreements with them will be entered.

FAQ #46: Regarding the the Registry-Registrar Protocol (RRP) used in the .com, .net, and .org TLDs and described in RFC2832:

(A) Will new registries have open, unrestricted access to the RRP for use and future modification, without the requirement of a license from Network Solutions, Inc.?

(B) If a license will be required, will such license require a license fee and allow the future modification of the RRP, including the creation of derivative works?

(C) Does Network Solutions Registry claim intellectual property rights in the RRP as described in RFC 2832, or any other basic functionality necessary for the efficient interface between registries and registrars utilizing the RRP?

(D) Will Network Solutions cooperate with a formal IETF process to create a permanent open and peer reviewed standard?

Questions (A), (B), and (C) involve legal issues, about which you should consult your lawyer. Please note the following two items in that connection:

a. The RRP is described in RFC 2832, which contains the following statement:

"Copyright (C) The Internet Society (2000). All Rights Reserved.

"This document and translations of it may be copied and furnished to others, and derivative works that comment on or otherwise explain it or assist in its implementation may be prepared, copied, published and distributed, in whole or in part, without restriction of any kind, provided that the above copyright notice and this paragraph are included on all such copies and derivative works. However, this document itself may not be modified in any way, such as by removing the copyright notice or references to the Internet Society or other Internet organizations, except as needed for the purpose of developing Internet standards in which case the procedures for copyrights defined in the Internet Standards process must be followed, or as required to translate it into languages other than English.

"The limited permissions granted above are perpetual and will not be revoked by the Internet Society or its successors or assigns."

b. NSI Registry is offering its RRP software development kits as open source software under the terms of the GNU Lesser General Public License.

On Question (D), please note that Scott Hollenbeck of NSI Registry has submitted an Internet Draft on "Generic Registry-Registrar Protocol Requirements" (New: Now in version 5). Members of the Internet community wishing to contribute in this area should contact Mr. Hollenbeck.

FAQ #47: What are the acceptable lengths (number of characters) for TLD labels?

Ordinarily, TLD labels (e.g., "com") that are proposed for the new TLD program should be between three and sixty-three characters long, inclusive.

Two-letter codes must be available for establishing ccTLDs according to the policy set forth in ICP-1. Under that policy, ccTLDs are established with two-letter codes that appear on the ISO 3166-1 list. To avoid the possibility of future name collision, proposals for two-letter TLDs will not be accepted in the new TLD program unless the ISO 3166 Maintenance Agency has indicated that the proposed two-letter code will not be placed on the ISO 3166-1 list in a way that would be incompatible with the proposal. Compatibility could be demonstrated, for example, for a proposed TLD not meeting the alpha-2 code format used in the ISO 3166-1 list (e.g., "a1") or where the Maintenance Agency has reserved the proposed code, in a manner compatible for the proposed usage under the new TLD program, for stated "particular applications" including Internet TLD usage (this includes reservations for all usages).

Under current practice of the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority, one-letter codes are reserved from assignment to allow for future DNS extensibility.

See FAQ #56 for related information.

FAQ #48: Will ICANN require that current second-level-domain-name holders in .com, .net, and .org be given an opportunity to register their names before the general public?

Applicants should propose mechanisms to deal with start-up issues for the proposed TLD in a way that takes account of the rights and expectations of existing domain-name holders, trademark owners, and others. See Item E15 in the Description of TLD Policies. At this stage of the new TLD program, there is no fixed set of required mechanisms in this regard, such as giving a preferential opportunity for registration in the proposed TLD to domain-name holders in the existing TLDs. One factor that will be considered in evaluating proposals is the adequacy of the proposed mechanisms for allocation of names during the start-up phase of the proposed TLD.

FAQ #49: Where can a sponsoring organization obtain a list of registry operators?

We are not aware of any comprehensive list of organizations seeking to become registry operators. However, you might review the expressions of interest that ICANN received before its Yokohama meeting in July 2000.

FAQ #50: How many unrestricted TLDs and how many restricted TLDs will ICANN be approving?

At its 16 July 2000 meeting in Yokohama, the ICANN Board adopted a recommendation, which was made by ICANN's Domain Name Supporting Organization, to introduce new TLDs in the next several months in a measured and responsible manner. The exact number of TLDs that will be introduced will depend on the character of the proposals received. The mix of restricted and unrestricted TLDs will also depend on the character of the proposals.

FAQ #51: What is the current amount that NSI Registry pays for each domain name in the registry? Will the fee structure be the same for new TLDs?

ICANN's operating costs are supported by the name registries and registrars and the address registries according to formulas established through a budget process that includes discussions among those entities. For the 2000-2001 fiscal year, .com, .net, and .org registrars are contributing US$2,140,000 and NSI Registry is contributing US$250,000. The exact arrangements for new TLDs are not yet established, but they will be expected to contribute a fair share of ICANN's cost-recovery needs.

FAQ #52: What guidance can you provide on independent but related registry submissions that seek to solve a common problem, specifically where there is a cross subsidy from one registry to the other?

If there are multiple registries, multiple applications (with multiple application fees) should be submitted. See Instruction I30. The applications should note their relationship to each other, and should take account of the subsidy (for example, in the pro forma financial projections).

FAQ #53: Item D13.2.15 of the Registry Operator's Proposal asks for a detailed description of plans for dealing with the possibility of registry failure. Does this refer to system failure, business failure, or both?

It refers to all types of failures from any cause, including business failures, system failures, natural disasters, and sabotage.

FAQ #54: If our TLD application is not accepted, what becomes of our application? I understand that the $50,000 is non-refundable, but does the application remain active for the second round of TLD applications?

As stated in FAQ #28, plans for any subsequent rounds of TLD introductions will not be made until evaluation of the present "proof of concept" round. It is likely that, if there are subsequent rounds, there will be revisions in the program based on experience in the first round. This will likely require submission of new application materials. As to the non-refundable application fee, please note that it "is only an application fee to obtain consideration of this application." See Items A7 and B6 of the transmittal forms.

FAQ #55: The Registry Operator's Proposal asks for the Dun & Bradstreet D-U-N-S Numbers (if any) of the operator and certain subcontactors. What is a D-U-N-S Number?

Information about D-U-N-S Numbers is available on the Dun & Bradstreet web site. Although any existing D-U-N-S number(s) should be given in the application, you need not obtain a D-U-N-S Number to apply.

FAQ #56: According to FAQ #47, two-character TLDs must be available for ccTLDs. However, it is not clear as to whether or not a two-character TLD can be proposed if it in fact has not been assigned a country. Can a two-character TLD can be established if it is not currently on the ISO 3166-1 list?

Generally, no. A two-character code will be considered only if (a) it is not presently on the ISO 3166-1 list and (b) the ISO 3166 Maintenance Agency has indicated that the code will not be added to the list in the future for any purpose that is incompatible with the use you propose for the code.

FAQ #57: Please confirm my understanding that if payment of the non-refundable application fee is made by check, payment is timely if it is received by ICANN on 2 October. I.e. that the five-day requirement applies solely to wire transactions.

If you pay by check drawn on a United States bank and payable to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) in the amount of 50,000 United States dollars (see Item I8.1 of the Instructions), then your payment will be timely if the check is received at ICANN's offices by 2 October. If you choose to pay by wire transfer, your wire transfer 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 (which must be received by 2 October).

FAQ #58: Item C18.2 of the Sponsoring Organization's Proposal indicates that ICANN will accept an application for a sponsored TLD where there is not yet a finalized contract between the sponsor and the registry operator, if the sponsoring organization submits proposed terms for a contract (i.e. at least a detailed term sheet) with the registry operator for provision of registry services, proof of commitment from the registry operator for provision of services under those proposed terms, and a notation of the estimated date of entry into the contract. What do you mean by "proof of commitment from the registry operator"? Isn't the signed copy of the Registry Operator's Proposal sufficient proof?

An example of sufficient proof of commitment by the registry operator would be a signed letter of intent stating the proposed terms for the contract. The signed Registry Operator's Proposal is not necessarily sufficient because it may not indicate the registry operator's willingness to enter into a contract on the proposed terms.

FAQ #59: I am confused as to the meaning of a sponsored vs. unsponsored TLD. Please describe the difference between the two and what ICANN's involvement in the policy making process would be in each case.

For a description of the differences between sponsored and unsponsored TLDs, please see section 1(b) of the New TLD Application Process Overview.

FAQ #60: Item C1 of the Sponsoring Organization's Proposal states that the following documents should be attached to the proposal: articles of incorporation, association, etc.; bylaws or any similar organizational document; list of persons presently on the supervising Board of the organization (or to be initially on the Board); and their resumes. Because we were established long ago, we do not have these in electronic form. Is it acceptable to attach hard copy documents instead, with a brief summary in the electronic version?

Because we expect to post these materials for public review and comment, they should be submitted in electronic form.

See FAQ #40 and FAQ #73 for related information.

FAQ #61: Item D15.2.4 of the Registry Operator's Proposal asks about interface and user authentication in the zone generation process. If the zone file generation process is automated and user intervention is not required, what interface and user authentication is referred to?

If your registry systems design does not contemplate user intervention in any circumstances please note this and explain how operations ordinarily done with user intervention (e.g., emergency updates) are accomplished.

FAQ #62: Item D15.2.3 of the Registry Operator's Proposal asks about the reporting capabilities of the registry database. Are you looking for the native reporting capabilities of the proposed database? Or are you looking for reporting capabilities that can be added on top of the database? What types of reports? Financial, technical? Please be more specific.

Item D15.2.3's reference to database reporting capabilities is directed to the reporting capabilities of the registry database system as it will be implemented. Please explain what reporting capabilities will be implemented in the overall system you employ. This includes financial, technical. operational, and any other type of report you anticipate will be available. Your response should be as specific as possible.

FAQ #63: Do you anticipate granting any extensions of the time to submit applications beyond 2 October?

No, we do not.

FAQ #64: Our sponsoring organisation and the registry operator are based in different countries. We plan to send the two parts of the proposal separately to ICANN, although the proposals will be clearly labelled as being component parts of the same proposal. Is this acceptable to ICANN?

Yes. Please be sure each proposal clearly designates the connection to the other proposal.

FAQ #65: At what time on October 2, 2000 does the application process conclude? Since this is a Monday does this mean that all applications need to be received by the previous Friday, September 29, 2000? At what time do your offices close?

Item I24 of the Instructions states:

I24. The complete application, including all forms, attachments, and accompanying materials, along with the check for the non-refundable application fee (or wire-transfer documentation), must be received by ICANN at its office in Marina del Rey during the period beginning 5 September and ending 2 October 2000. All materials must be received before 5:00 pm, California time, on 2 October 2000.

Lately we have been receiving many questions that are answered in the instructions, the application forms, these FAQs, and the other materials we have posted. This indicates that some persons are considering applying without carefully reading all the materials. Failure to fully understand and follow exactly all the instructions in all the materials may result in your application being denied.

FAQ #66: Item E7 in the Description of TLD Policies talks about policies on data privacy, escrow and Whois service. What is "escrow" service?

For background on escrow requirements, please see Section II.I of the .com, .net, and .org Registrar Accreditation Agreement and Section 7 of the ICANN-Network Solutions Registry Agreement.

FAQ #67: In completing Item E9 of the Description of TLD Policies, regarding "Services and Pricing", is it obligatory to specify how much would be charged, or will a description of the guiding principles behind a tariff structure be sufficient?

There are no absolute requirements on this, but the ICANN staff has indicated that specificity and completeness will be postive factors in the evaluation process. See Factor 9 of the Criteria for Assessing TLD Proposals. Please note that pricing levels will ordinarily be important to formulate your Business Capabilities and Plan and pro-forma financial projections. See Item D13.2.12 of the Registry Operator's Proposal. If your pricing formula is not pegged to a specific value (such as a system in which overall registry costs are divided equally among all registrants), please describe exactly the formula and in connection with your pro-forma financial projections give projections of the resulting pricing.

FAQ #68: Is it appropriate to include references to pricing in Item C18.2 of the Sponsoring Organization's Proposal, which refers to "proposed terms for a contract with the registry operator", or is this area reserved for direct discussion between ICANN and the Registry Operator?

Ordinarily, the proposed terms for a contract between the sponsoring organization and the registry operator should cover the services the registry operator will provide and the terms on which they will be provided.

FAQ #69: Item A3 in the Sponsored TLD Application Transmittal From asks for "copies of documents demonstrating the authority (of the person signing the application)". What type of documents are you expecting? Is an officer or employee of the sponsoring organization sufficient?

If the person is not a top officer of the organization (Chair, etc.), you should submit a Board resolution (certified by the secretary or similar officer) authorizing the application. A top officer may simply state that she or he has authority to make the application.

FAQ #70: I am located in the Southern California area. May I hand deliver my application to ICANN at its Marina del Rey office or do I have to send my application by mail or courier as stated in Item I22 of the Instructions?

You may mail your application, have a messenger deliver it to our offices, or act as the messenger yourself. The deadline is 5:00 pm California time. Please note that we will not discuss your application in any way with you on 2 October.

FAQ #71: What level of detail is necessary for the pro-forma financial projections required by Item D13.3 of the Registry Operator's Proposal? Are the following categories sufficient levels of detail: personnel costs, research and development, marketing expenses, general administrative expensives exclusive of salaries?

The level of detail is ultimately up to the organization preparing the Registry Operator's Proposal. In reviewing the proposals, however, ICANN will place significant emphasis on their completeness and the extent to which they demonstrate that the applicant has a thorough understanding of what is involved, has carefully thought through all relevant issues, has realistically assessed the business, financial, technical, operational, and marketing requirements for implementing the proposal, has procured firm commitments for all necessary resources, and has formulated sound business and technical plans for executing the proposal. These characteristics are more likely to be demonstrated by specific pro-forma financial projections, based on clearly articulated assumptions, than by general ones.

FAQ #72: We are submitting our proposal with a letter of intent from our subcontractor for the registry operations/data center. Is it acceptable to submit a complete detailed document of their operations no later than Wednesday, 4 October?  The additonal document is in the final stages of completion for that section of the proposal.

Item 24 of the New TLD Application Instructions states:

I24. The complete application, including all forms, attachments, and accompanying materials, along with the check for the non-refundable application fee (or wire-transfer documentation), must be received by ICANN at its office in Marina del Rey during the period beginning 5 September and ending 2 October 2000. All materials must be received before 5:00 pm, California time, on 2 October 2000.

Only the following materials will be accepted after the 5:00 pm (California time) 2 October 2000 deadline: (a) notification of a material change in circumstances (b) withdrawal of the application, and (c) items requested by ICANN. (Please note the completion after the deadline of documentation required as part of the application does not constitute a "material change in circumstances".) If you submit your application on 2 October without some element of documentation, ICANN will consider the application without that element. If the element is required by the application materials (such as Item D15.3(c) of the Registry Operator's Proposal, which requires a comprehensive technical proposal from certain subcontractors), omission of that element may reflect negatively on the application.

FAQ #73: I understand application must be in both hard copy and electronic format. For attachments such as lengthy shareholder's agreements from participating organizations --- can they be scanned and submitted as jpeg or tiff or must they by submitted in Word format?

The portions of the application specified in Items I7 and I10 of the New TLD Application Instructions must be submitted in both hard copy (paper) form and electronic form on one or more 3 ½" floppy diskettes (IBM high density) or on a CD-ROM in a common word-processing format and in HTML format. (MS Word is acceptable for the word-processing format.) Accompanying materials requested in these portions (such as the articles of incorporation, association, etc. sought by Item C1 of the Sponsoring Organization's Proposal) must be submitted in HTML and word-processing format.

See FAQ #40 and FAQ #60 for related information.

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