New gTLDs

What is the new gTLD program?
There are currently 22 general Top Level Domains (gTLDs) in use on the Internet including .com, .net, and .org. The new gTLD program is set to open up the Internet namespace by introducing hundreds of new gTLDs. A result of many years of policy development and planning, the program was officially approved by the ICANN Board in 2008, and new gTLD applications were accepted under the program for the first time in 2012.
How could my organization benefit from the new gTLD program?
Organizations can benefit from lower entry barriers to the registry business, or obtain their own TLD for the following advantages.
  1. Strengthen company, product or brand image.
  2. Possession of valuable "Internet real estate" that represents your brand or organization.
What is the ICANN "Applicant Guidebook" for new gTLDs?
The Applicant Guidebook is a step-by-step roadmap for potential applicants. The Guidebook covers technical, operational and financial criteria, evaluation fees and processes, required documentation, and objection proceedings. The new gTLD Applicant Guidebook can be viewed here:http://newgtlds.icann.org/en/applicants/agb.
Who can apply for a new gTLD?
Any public or private-sector organization can apply to create and operate a new gTLD. ICANN will not be opening applications to individuals or sole proprietorships. Applicants for new gTLDs undergo operational, financial and technical evaluations in order to preserve Internet security and stability.
When can I apply?
The first application window in the new gTLD program was opened between January 12 and May 12, 2012. ICANN has committed to further application rounds, but as yet dates are unknown.

Domain terminology

Domain / domain name
A domain name is an identification label often described as an "Internet address". Organized in subordinate levels, the top level domain (TLD) is on the far right of the domain name. For example in the domain www.gmo.registry.com ".com" is the TLD. TLDs are managed by a registry. To the left of the top level domain is the second-level domain (SLD). SLDs are managed by registrars under contract with the relevant registry.
Generic top-level domain. A gTLD is the technical term for the suffixes which appear at the end of Internet addresses that are used to route traffic through the Internet. These are the general use top-level domains like .com, .net, .org, .info and .biz. Before ICANN was established only 8 gTLDs existed, there are now 22 gTLDs in use.
Country code top-level domain. A top level domain name that identifies a country. These two letter domain extensions are based on the ISO 3166-1 country code standards. There are approximately 250 ccTLDs, examples include: .ca for Canada, .jp for Japan, and .eu for the European Union.
ISO 3166
ISO 3166 is an international standard first published by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) in 1974. The standard defines codes for countries, territories and other geographical areas of significance. Country top level domains (cctlds) are based on ISO 3166-1 alpha country codes.
Internationalized Domain Name. An IDN is a non-alphabet domain name. It may refer to a domain name that includes the diacritical marks used in many European languages, or consists of characters from non-Latin scripts (for example, Arabic or Chinese).
Japanese language (Japanese character) IDN
An IDN with a Japanese language character string. Japanese language (Japanese character) domain names have been available in the .com, .net and .org namespaces since 2000 and in the .jp namespace since 2001.
IP address
An IP address is a numerical identification assigned to computers on the Internet in accordance with Internet Protocol. All computers connected to the Internet have an IP address.
Domain Name System. The network that handles domain names and IP addresses. When a user accesses a web site, their local name server queries DNS servers to determine the IP address of the domain name. DNS returns the IP address allowing the user to view the web server at that address. DNS servers are also sometimes referred to as DNS.
DNS server
A server that supports operation of the DNS system. Also known as a nameserver, a DNS server holds databases of domain names and their corresponding IP addresses. It performs the function of translating a hostname or domain name to an IP address.
Root server
The root server is a DNS server that operates the DNS root zone at the top level of the DNS hierarchy. When a new domain is registered or a domain name server is changed it is first recognized as valid by the root server.

Domain Industry

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is an internationally organized, non-profit corporation that has responsibility for Internet Protocol (IP) address space allocation, generic (gTLD) and country code (ccTLD) top-level domain name system management, and root server system management functions. As a private-public partnership, ICANN is dedicated to preserving the operational stability of the Internet; to promoting competition; to achieving broad representation of global Internet communities; and to developing policy appropriate to its mission through bottom-up, consensus-based processes.
ICANN meeting
ICANN holds public meetings rotated between continents about 3 times per year. Internet-themed discussion forums are held as well as general meetings, an executive board meeting, and various workshops.
A registry is an organization that maintains a central database of all data for a particular domain. A registry operator also generates the "zone file" which allows computers to route Internet traffic to and from top-level domains anywhere in the world. Internet users don't interact directly with the registry operator; users can register names in TLDs through an ICANN-accredited Registrar.
ICANN accredited registrars are able to register a domain directly into registry databases under contract with the relevant registry. While there is only one registry for each top-level domain, multiple registrars exist to promote competitive pricing and service. There are ten ICANN appointed registrars in Japan including the GMO Internet operated Onamae.com.
The Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) was the authority originally responsible for the oversight of IP address allocation, the coordination of the assignment of protocol parameters provided for in Internet technical standards, and the management of the DNS, including the delegation of top-level domains and oversight of the root name server system. These tasks are now performed by ICANN. Under ICANN, the IANA continues to distribute addresses to the Regional Internet Registries, coordinate with the IETF and others to assign protocol parameters, and oversee the operation of the DNS.
The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) is a large open international community of network designers, operators, vendors,  and researchers concerned with the evolution of Internet architecture and the smooth operation of the Internet. It is open to any interested individual.

ICANN Committees

ICANN's At-Large Advisory Committee (ALAC) is responsible for considering and providing advice on the activities of ICANN, as they relate to the interests of individual Internet users (the "at-large" community). ICANN, as a private sector, non-profit corporation with technical management responsibilities for the Internet's domain name and address system, relies on ALAC and its supporting infrastructure to involve and represent in ICANN a broad set of individual user interests.
The Country Code Names Supporting Organization (ccNSO) of ICANN is the policy development body for a narrow range of global ccTLD issues within the ICANN structure. It is responsible for developing and recommending to the Board global policies relating to country-code top-level domains, nurturing consensus across the ccNSO's community, including the name-related activities of ccTLDs, and coordinating with other ICANN Supporting Organizations, committees, and constituencies under ICANN.
The Government Advisory Committee (GAC) is an advisory committee comprising appointed representatives of national governments, multi-national governmental organizations and treaty organizations, and distinct economies. Its function is to advise the ICANN Board on matters of concern to governments. The GAC operates as a forum for the discussion of government interests and concerns, including consumer interests. As an advisory committee, the GAC reports its findings and recommendations to the ICANN Board.
Generic Names Supporting Organization. The GNSO is made up of the following six constituencies: the commercial and business constituency, the gTLD registry constituency, the ISP constituency, the non-commercial constituency, the registrar constituency, and the IP constituency. The organization's area of focus is gTLDs.
Security and Stability Advisory Committee. The President's standing committee on the security and stability of the Internet's naming and address allocation systems. Their charter includes a focus on risk analysis and auditing. SSAC consists of approximately 20 technical experts from industry and academia as well as operators of Internet root servers, registrars, and TLD registries.
Nominating Committee. The committee responsible for selecting Directors of ICANN and the supporting organizations GNSO, ALAC, ccNSO.

New gTLD application process

What is an "extended evaluation"?
Applicants who fail certain elements of the initial evaluation may be eligible to request an "extended evaluation" in order to clarify their initial application. No fees apply to the "extended evaluation".
What is "string contention"?
String contention occurs when two or more applicants for the same or similar gTLD strings successfully complete the initial stages of the application process.
On what grounds can an objection to a gTLD application be filed?
A gTLD application can be objected to on any of the following grounds:
  • String confusion
  • Existing legal rights
  • Morality and public order
  • Community objection
Any objections filed will be handled using the dispute resolution process outlined in the Applicant Guidebook.