18 New Registry Agreement Contracts Signed
In 2012, ICANN, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and numbers, accepted applications to create new Top Level Domains (TLDs). A TLD is the text to the right of the final dot in a domain name. For example, .Com is the most popular TLD today. 1,930 applications for new TLDs were filed with ICANN as a result of the 2012 application round. Since then, ICANN has been evaluating the new TLD applications. Domains within the first new TLDs to launch are expected to go on sale to the general public via general availability in February 2014.
January 12, 2014 - A Top Level Domain (TLD) is the text to the right of the final dot in a domain name. For example, .Com is the most popular TLD today. In 2012, ICANN - the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers - held a historic application round inviting organizations from around the world to apply to create new TLDs. 1,930 applications for new TLDs were filed. Since that time, each application has undergone a rigorous evaluation process which included evaluation of the string itself as well as the applicant's technical capacity and financial capability for operating a new TLD. It is expected that over 700 new TLDs will result from this process (many of the TLDs were duplicates).
After the application process is complete, each prospective registry operator must sign a contract - known as a Registry Agreement - with ICANN before the new TLD can be added to the Internet. 18 new TLDs have recently signed Registry Agreements with ICANN. These TLDs were: .autos, .beer, .bharti, .bmw, .citic, .ggee, .gmo, .homes, .jetzt, .koeln, .luxe, .mini, .motorcycles, .ooo, .ryukyu, .surf, .yachts, xn--1qqw23a (佛山) A total of 240 Registry Agreements have now been signed for new TLDs.
In addition, Donuts has withdrawn its application for .global, and .rexroth - a branded TLD from Bosch Rexroth - has passed the Extended Evaluation phase.The table below provides a list of all of the TLDs with signed Registry Agreements.
|TLD||Date Registry Agreement Signed|
The application review process conducted by ICANN is a very thorough, time-consuming process. The application process consists - at a high level - of the steps below:
- Administrative Completeness Check – During this phase, ICANN confirmed that all applicants had filled in all required questions and paid all required fees. The Administrative Completeness check occurred in 2012 and is complete.
- String Similarity Review - After the Administrative Completeness check, ICANN assigned applicants into contention sets based on string similarity. In addition to the strings that were exact matches of each other, which were automatically placed into contention sets, ICANN also created two additional string contention sets. These were 1) .hotels and .hoteis and 2) .unicorn and .unicom. The String Similarity Review occurred in 2012 and is complete.
- Initial Evaluation – During the Initial Evaluation phase, ICANN evaluated every application for financial capability to operate a TLD, technical capacity to operate a TLD, and also evaluated the string itself for stability and operational issues. While the Initial Evaluation phase is ‘officially’ deemed complete, there are a few stragglers still pending Initial Evaluation. Overall, 1,757 TLD s passed Initial Evaluation, 11 TLDs failed Initial Evaluation but passed Extended Evaluation, 27 TLDs are still in Extended Evaluation, and 4 TLDs remain still pending Initial Evaluation. Additionally, there are three TLDs classified as ‘Not Approved’, which means that they failed to pass Initial Evaluation and are not eligible for Extended Evaluation, and 127 applications were withdrawn.
- Extended Evaluation - The Extended Evaluation phase was only necessary if ICANN required additional time to fully evaluate an applicant or if the applicant failed to pass the Initial Evaluation phase. Since there are additional fees associated with Extended Evaluation request, applicants who failed to pass Initial Evaluation are given the option to request Extended Evaluation.
- Dispute Resolution - Disputes may be filed against an application for a new TLD on four grounds: Legal Rights, Community Objection, Limited Public Interest, String Confusion. The String Confusion objection was another way that applicants could use to request that similar strings should be placed in a contention set. ICANN’s Independent Objector may also file a dispute against an applicant.
- Community Priority Panel - If one of the applicants in a contention set applied as a Community TLD, then ICANN must evaluate the applicant's claim to Community priority. If it is found that one applicant in a contention set has community support from established institutions representing the community, then that applicant will be granted the approval to move forward to the next steps in the application process.
- Auction - In the event that more than one applicant in a contention set passes through the Evaluation and Dispute Resolution phases, then applicants are encouraged to negotiate a solution. Failing that, applicants may bid against each other for the proposed TLD either via private auctions or via an auction hosted by ICANN.
- Contracting – After the applicant has passed through all prior steps in the application process, and any string contention disputes have been resolved, the applicant may be invited to the contracting phase of the Application Process.
- Pre-Delegation Testing – Pre-delegation testing consists of technical and operational testing to ensure that the applicant is ready to operate a new TLD.
- Delegation into the Root Zone – After the Applicant has signed a contract with ICANN and after the applicant has passed Pre-Delegation testing, the applicant may request delegation into the Root Zone. This means that the new TLD will be added to the Internet.
- Ramp-up – After the Applicant’s string has been delegated into the Root Zone, the applicant may begin to build up and test the technical infrastructure required to operate a TLD.
- Sunrise – The Sunrise phase usually consists of a 30-day period during which Trademark holders may purchase domain names within a given TLD followed by a 30-60 day Landrush Phase during which interested parties may request to purchase a domain name within the given TLD. During the Landrush period, in the event that two parties wish to purchase the same domain name, a bidding process us usually held for the domain name in contention.
- General Availability – Domain names are sold to the general public.
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