New sTLD Application:

Requirements for Registry Operator’s Proposal

(Draft for public comment)

Posted: 24 June 2003

This document is a draft for public comment posted on 24 June 2003. Please be sure to check the ICANN website for any later versions of this document before you submit your application.

Please submit any comments on this draft to <stld-rfp-comments@icann.org>.

Registry Operator's Proposal

INSTRUCTIONS: This document describes the requirements for completing a Registry Operator's Proposal. This Registry Operator's Proposal must be submitted by those applicants for a sponsored TLD that are selecting Option B as detailed in the Request for Proposal. The Option B itself is selected in the Sponsored Application Transmittal Form. Those applicants selecting Option A are not required to submit this Registry Operator's Proposal document.

The Sponsoring Organization (or, where the Sponsoring Organization has not yet been formed, the organization(s) or person(s) proposing to form the Sponsoring Organization) is/are the applicant(s). Any proposed Sponsoring Organization selecting Option B should identify the proposed Registry Operator, have it prepare the Registry Operator's Proposal, and submit it as part of the application.

The Registry Operator's Proposal should be separately bound (if more than one volume, please sequentially number them) and clearly labeled: "Registry Operator's Proposal." and must cover all topics described below.

Where subcontractors are to be employed by the Registry Operator for any significant portion of the business or technical operations (other than acquisition of standard hardware or software), the proposed subcontractors should be clearly identified and an explanation of what is to be subcontracted should be attached along with letters of commitment from the proposed subcontractors. The Registry Operator is responsible for providing the information required for the Registry Operator's Proposal (as described in this document) even if part of the work is to be performed by a subcontractor.


The first section of the Registry Operator's Proposal must list the following information about the proposing Registry Operator:

B1. The full legal name, principal address, telephone and fax numbers, and e-mail address of the Registry Operator.

B2. The Registry Operator's type of business entity (e.g., corporation, partnership, etc.) and law (e.g., Denmark) under which it is organized.

B3. URL of the Registry Operator's principal world wide web site.

B4. Dun & Bradstreet D-U-N-S Number (if any) of registry operator.

B5. Full names and positions of (i) all directors, (ii) all officers, (iii) all relevant managers, and (iv) any persons or entities owning five percent or more of registry operator. Identify and explain any existing relationship(s) with the Sponsoring Organization, or common employees or directors.

B6. Name, telephone and fax numbers, and e-mail address of a person to contact for additional information regarding this proposal. If there are multiple persons who may serve as contacts, please list each person's name, telephone and fax numbers, and e-mail address and describe the area as to which each person should be contacted.

B7. Brief history of Registry Operator including date of formation, services and products offered, any information that indicates size or stability of the organization, such as number of employees, annual revenues etc.


The second section of the Registry Operator's Proposal (after the "General Information" section) is a description of the Registry Operator's Business Capabilities and Plan. The purpose of this section is to provide information that substantiates the robustness of the organization in terms of its ability to provide continuing registry operation services, and to provide a plan for assuring continuity of service in the event of business failure of the Sponsoring Organization. Initiating a new TLD registry is a complex undertaking when all factors are taken into account (such as all the business rules governing interactions by the Registry Operator with ICANN-accredited registrars), particularly in the contemplation of operating a large registry.

The amount of detail provided in this section of the proposal should reflect the anticipated size of the proposed new sTLD. Operators of smaller registries are not expected to provide as much detail regarding business capabilities and back-up planning as operators of larger registries. With that understanding, however, this section is intended to provide a sufficiently comprehensive business plan that provides detailed, verifiable business and financial information about the Registry Operator. The topics listed below are representative of the type of subjects that should be covered in the Business Capabilities and Plan section of a sufficiently detailed Registry Operator's Proposal.

B8. Description of the Registry Operator's capabilities. This should describe general capabilities and activities, planned or actual. This description also offers the Registry Operator an opportunity to demonstrate the extent of its business and managerial expertise in activities relevant to the operation of the proposed registry, again bearing in mind that the level of detail provided should scale to the size of the proposed registry. The following items should be addressed at some level of detail:

B8.1 Current business operations. Core capabilities, services offered, products offered, duration of provision of services and products in current business. How does this relate to and support the ability to operate a TLD registry?

B8.2 Registry/database/Internet related experience and activities. Experience with database operation, provision of Internet services, software capabilities or other relevant experiences.

B8.3 Mission. The Registry Operator's mission and how it relates to expansion into the registry operation field.

B8.4 Management. Qualifications and experience of financial and business officers and other relevant senior employees. Please address/include past experience, resumes, references and biographies for the proposed management team. Please note that this information will be posted on the ICANN website; home addresses and telephone numbers and other personally identifying information should therefore be omitted.

B8.5 Staff/employees. Current staff size, demonstrated ability to expand employee base and recruit employees with specialized skills as necessary.

B8.6 Facilities. Location of facilities available to house staff and equipment necessary to operate the registry.

B8.7 Commercial general liability insurance. Address/include amount of insurance policy, and, in general terms, the coverage of the policy, the provider of policy, and any plans for obtaining additional insurance.

B9. Description of the business plan. This section should present a general business plan for the proposed Registry Operator. The level of detail provided should reflect the anticipated size and complexity of the proposed sTLD. More detail will be expected for an sTLD containing a projected 500,000 names than one expected to contain a projected 1,000 names. However, whatever the size of the proposed sTLD, the less information provided as to a well thought-out business plan and provision for contingencies, the greater will be the expectation of a thorough plan to provide for the continued support of the sTLD in the eventuality of business failure of the Registry Operator (see subsection B11 below).

In addition to providing basic information concerning the viability of the proposed operation, this section offers the Registry Operator an opportunity to demonstrate that it has carefully analyzed the financial and operational aspects of the proposal. The overall objective is to provide sufficient evidence that the Registry Operator has adequately considered the financial and other business aspects of operating a registry commensurate with the size and complexity of the proposed sTLD.

Supporting documentation should be provided and attached to this proposal to substantiate the information provided in this business plan.

B10. Factors that should be addressed (to a greater or lesser extent depending on the size and complexity of the proposed registry) among others are:

B10.1 Services to be provided. A full description of the registry services to be provided.

B10.2 Revenue model. A full description of the revenue model, including proposed rates to be charged for various registry services. Revenues should be forecast at low, medium, and high projected levels of demand.

B10.3 Resources required to meet demand. Provide an estimate of all resources (financial, technical, staff, physical plant, customer service, etc.) required to meet demands, at low, medium, and high anticipated demand levels.

B10.4 Plans for acquiring necessary systems and facilities. Describe plans for acquiring all necessary systems and facilities for providing the proposed services at each estimated demand level. Provide details as to the scope, cost, and vendor for any significant planned outsourcing, as well as brief detail on such vendor's capabilities.

B10.5 Staff size/expansion capability. Plans for obtaining the necessary staff resources, capacity for expansion, hiring policy, employee training, space for additional staff, staffing levels needed for provision of expanded technical, support, escrow, and registry services.

B10.6 Availability of additional management personnel. Review the expected initial management team and the skills of each member, and plans for obtaining additional management personnel as necessary.

B10.7 Capital requirements. Quantify capital requirements in amount and timing and describe how the capital will be obtained. Specify in detail all expected sources of capital and the cost of that capital (interest, etc.).

B10.8 Business risks and opportunities. Describe upside and downside contingencies you have considered and discuss your plans for addressing them.

B10.9 Pro-forma financial projections. Please provide pro-forma financial projections for the next two projected fiscal years, consistent with your business plan, for the demand scenarios that you estimate under item B10.2. The pro-formas should show revenue and expense estimates broken down by detailed categories and should be broken down into periods no longer than quarterly. Please provide detail on and the basis for any assumptions made in preparing the pro formas.

B10.10 Proof of insurance. Please provide proof of the insurance described in item B9.7.

B11. Provision for Registry Failure.

One key purpose of providing a great level of detail in sections B9 and B10 above is to reassure the community that there is a low risk of business failure of the Registry Operator – with consequent impact on registrants. In lieu of providing as great a level of detail, applicants may choose to emphasize alternatives directed instead to assuring continuity of operations in the event of business or operational failure of the Registry Operator, that is, provision for contingencies and a failsafe back-up plan.

The requirement for providing ICANN with escrowed data does not of itself suffice. Unless appropriate restoration arrangements are made, there could be a considerable lag between business failure and the ability to make arrangements with another Registry Operator to make use of the escrowed data. Applicants who wish to emphasize this alternative, instead of providing as much detailed financial and other information in response to B10.2 above, are encouraged to propose creative approaches that emphasize reliable plans for assuring continuity of service in the face of Registry Operator business failure. For example, an applicant might wish to propose a "buddy system" involving regular testing by another registry with whom ICANN already has an agreement (that is, effectively reverting to the Option A approach to the Registry Operator Proposal) which would commit to assume responsibility for at least a year should the Registry Operator prove unable to continue to deliver service. If this approach is proposed, a letter of commitment from the substitute "stand-by" Registry Operator should be attached.

The possibility of business failure of the Sponsoring Organization and contingency planning must be addressed in the Sponsoring Organization's Proposal as well. The Registry Operator must agree in the event of business failure of the Sponsoring Organization, to assign the rights of the Sponsoring Organization under the agreement(s) between the Registry Operator and the Sponsoring Organization to ICANN (or a designee of ICANN) for at least one year.


The third section of the Registry Operator's Proposal is a description of the Registry Operator's Technical Capabilities and Plan. This section must include a comprehensive, professional-quality technical plan that provides a detailed description of the Registry Operator's current and planned technical capabilities as well as a full description of the operator's proposed technical solution for establishing and operating all aspects of the registry, including interactions with planned registrars. The technical plan will require detailed, specific information regarding the technical capabilities of the proposed registry. The topics listed below are representative of the type of subjects that will be covered in the Technical Capabilities and Plan section of the Registry Operator's Proposal.

The level of detail provided should again be commensurate with the scale and complexity of the proposed sTLD. However, even the smallest sTLD must operate in such a way that services are rendered reliably and effectively, and in a manner that meets Internet technical standards and does not interfere with the stable operation of the Domain Name System (DNS). Sufficient information must be provided to provide reasonable assurance that these goals will be achieved.

The Technical Capabilities and Plan section should address the following:

B12. Detailed description of the Registry Operator's technical capabilities. This should provide a detailed description of the Registry Operator's technical capabilities, including information about key technical personnel (qualifications and experience), size of technical workforce, and access to systems development tools. It should also describe the Registry Operator's significant past technical achievements. This description offers the Registry Operator an opportunity to demonstrate the extent of its technical expertise in activities relevant to the operation of the proposed registry.

B13. Technical plan for the proposed registry operations. This should present a comprehensive technical plan for the proposed registry operations. In addition to providing basic information concerning the Registry Operator's proposed technical solution (with appropriate diagrams), this section offers the Registry Operator an opportunity to demonstrate that it has carefully analyzed the technical requirements of registry operation. Factors that should be addressed in the technical plan include:

B13.1 General description of proposed facilities and systems. Address all locations of systems. Address the specific types of systems being used, their capacity, and interoperability, general availability, and level of security. Describe in appropriate detail buildings, hardware, software systems, environmental equipment, Internet connectivity, etc. Provide diagrams of all of the systems operating at each location where this helps to explain the material presented.

B13.2 Registry-registrar model and protocol. Please describe in detail corresponding to the registrar model proposed by the sponsoring organization.

B13.3 Database capabilities. Database software, size, throughput, scalability, procedures for object creation, editing, and deletion, change notifications, registrar transfer procedures, grace period implementation, reporting capabilities, etc.

B13.4 Zone file generation. Procedures for changes, editing by registrars, updates. Address frequency, security, process, interface, user authentication, logging, data back-up.

B13.5 Zone file distribution and publication. Locations of nameservers, procedures for and means of distributing zone files to them.

B13.6 Billing and collection systems. Technical characteristics, system security, accessibility.

B13.7 Data escrow and backup. Frequency and procedures for backup of data. Describe hardware and systems used, data format, identity of suggested escrow agent(s), procedures for retrieval of data/rebuild of database, etc.

B13.8 Publicly accessible look up/Whois service. Address software and hardware, connection speed, search capabilities, coordination with other Whois systems, etc.

B13.9 System security and physical security. Technical and physical capabilities and procedures to prevent system hacks, break-ins, data tampering, and other disruptions to operations.

B13.10 Peak capacities. Technical capability for handling a larger-than-projected demand for registration or load. Effects on load on servers, databases, back-up systems, support systems, escrow systems, maintenance, personnel.

B13.11 System reliability. Define, analyze, and quantify quality of service.

B13.12 System outage prevention. Procedures for problem detection, redundancy of all systems, back up power supply, facility security, technical security, availability of back-up software, operating system, and hardware, system monitoring, technical maintenance staff, server locations.

B13.13 System recovery procedures. Procedures for restoring the system to operation in the event of a system outage, both expected and unexpected. Identify redundant/diverse systems for providing service in the event of an outage and describe the process for recovery from various types of failures, the training of technical staff who will perform these tasks, the availability and backup of software and operating systems needed to restore the system to operation, the availability of the hardware needed to restore and run the system, backup electrical power systems, the projected time for restoring the system, the procedures for testing the process of restoring the system to operation in the event of an outage, the documentation kept on system outages and on potential system problems that could result in outages.

B13.14 Technical and other support. Support for registrars and for Internet users and registrants. Describe technical help systems, personnel accessibility, web-based, telephone and other support, support services to be offered, time availability of support, and language-availability of support.

B14. Signature Page. Every Registry Operator's Proposal must end with a signature page containing the following affirmation:

By signing this Registry Operator's Proposal, the undersigned certifies (a) that he or she has authority to do so on behalf of the Registry Operator and, on his or her own behalf and on behalf of the Registry Operator, (b) that all information contained in this proposal, and all documents attached to this proposal, is true and accurate to the best of his/her/its knowledge and information. The undersigned and the Registry Operator understand that any material misstatement or misrepresentation (or omission of material information) will reflect negatively on any application of which this proposal is a part and may cause cancellation of any delegation of a top-level domain based on such an application.


Name (please print)


Name of Applicant Entity


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