Letter from Paul Twomey to national governments and country-code top-level domains (ccTLDs) operators regarding publication of draft applicant guidebook
As part of the New gTLD Program global communications campaign, national governments around the world as well as ccTLD operators have been notified of the posting of the new generic top-level domains (gTLDs) draft Applicant Guidebook. The draft Guidebook, is now available for review and comment at http://www.icann.org/en/topics/new-gtlds/comments-en.htm. The draft Guidebook provides information for those interested in applying for new gTLDs. The letter can be viewed at http://www.icann.org/correspondence/twomey-to-national-governments-24oct08-en.pdf. [PDF, 73K]
Auctions - ICANN is considering the use of auctions as a tie-breaking mechanism within the new gTLD process, in some cases where there is more than one qualified applicant for the same TLD string. ICANN is posting a paper [PDF, 52K] for community discussion, entitled The Economic Case for Auctions, which explores the potential benefits of auctions as a tie-breaking mechanism. The paper lays out a number of questions on which ICANN is seeking community feedback, and the comment forum is open through 7 September 2008 23:59 UTC (8 August 2008).
String Similarity Algorithm - ICANN staff recently completed a workshop with SWORD, the partner who is assisting ICANN with the creation of an algorithm that will help automate the process for assessing similarity among proposed and existing TLD strings. SWORD's verbal search algorithms are used by various patent and trademark offices throughout the world. SWORD has completed a beta algorithm and reviewed several test cases with ICANN staff. This is being done in order to refine the parameters and discuss how the algorithm could be successfully integrated as a tool to help implement the GNSO's recommendation that new gTLD strings should not result in user confusion with existing TLDs (8 August 2008).
Backend Registry Certification Not Available in First Round - On 31 January 2008, ICANN posted an announcement ( http://www.icann.org/en/announcements/announcement-2-31jan08.htm ) to inform the community that it was exploring a potential initiative for the certification of backend registry operators for new gTLDs. The initiative was suggested as a possible means to streamline the application process for new gTLDs and to create a pool of pre-qualified registry operators who could provide assistance in the event of a registry failure. Exploration of the initiative was also prompted by inquiries from a range of community members who expressed that creation of the certification would promote competition for technical services providers.
During the exploration of the initiative, ICANN consulted with the community including technical experts and gTLD and ccTLD registries and registry service providers. ICANN assessed the operational benefits and risks of implementing the initiative. Ultimately, ICANN made a business decision not to proceed with certification as part of the opening new gTLD application round based upon a number of factors including, but not limited to: pre-existing operating plan commitments and priorities; time and resources required to develop and implement prior to the launch of new gTLDs; and, resource requirements associated with post-certification activities including ongoing testing, re-certification and the introduction of new compliance activities.
For ccTLD backend registry operators who may have thought they could not compete for providing registry services to new gTLDs, this is not the case. The Request for Proposals for new gTLDs when published will detail the minimum technical criteria and pre-delegation check requirements that must be met by every applicant prior to the approval of their TLD for insertion into the root. New gTLD applicants might choose to build their own registry infrastructure and systems, retain the services of an existing gTLD or ccTLD registry services provider, or contract with another technical services provider (8 August 2008).
ICANN staff has selected developers to build the TLD Application System (TAS) and to develop a visual similarity algorithm. The main business requirements have been indentified and development work should begin soon. TAS is the web-based system to be used to receive and manage incoming new gTLD applications. The algorithm will help to identify new gTLD applications that may be identical or too similar to co-exist in the namespace with existing TLDs, reserved names, or other applied for TLDs. (18 June 2008)
At the request of the ICANN Board during the Delhi Meeting, the GNSO and ICANN staff met in Los Angeles on April 10 and 11 2008 to discuss progress made in implementing GNSO recommendation. Complete agenda and presentation materials from the face-to-face meetings are available at http://gnso.icann.org/ . (18June2008)
ICANN staff has selected Power Auctions LLC as ICANN's auction design consultant for various auction needs, including (1) the development of models for the resolution of contention among applicants for new generic TLD strings, (2) for the disposition of data from failed registrars or registries, and 3) for the allocation of SC SLDs. (June 13 2008)