Jul 18 | 2011

DunnerLaw Advisory: New ICANN Generic Top-Level Domains Summary

Recently, ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) approved and announced a custom generic top-level domain (gTLD) program.  Below is an overview of the program, along with links to additional information.

Currently, there are 22 gTLDs available for use on the Web.  Examples of theses suffixes include “.com,” “.gov,” and “.ca.”  The new custom gTLDs allow public and private organizations to own and maintain custom suffixes — for instance, “.google” and “.facebook” may soon be bought (if they have not yet already) and appear in your Web browser.  A major benefit of these custom gTLDs is that they provide organizations with strong online brand protection and greater control of their online presence.

To secure a gTLD, an organization must pay an application fee, submit a complex application, and pay regular maintenance fees.  Here is an overview of the requirements:

  • $185,000 application fee (there is a $5,000 deposit; ICANN will keep the fee even if the application is rejected if the application does not meet the technical specifications noted below)
  • $25,000 maintenance fee for running registry
  • The organization must meet technical specifications determined by ICANN, including data escrow and interoperability requirements.  Domains composed entirely of numbers will be rejected, and geographic names must meet additional requirements. The Applicant Guidebook (below) lists all of the specifications.
  • The application review process will take approximately nine (9) months and involves a background check of an applicant’s business history, indications of prior cybersquatting, and similarity reviews against existing domain names.
  • Each application is reviewed by six (6) panels, each with a specific area of focus.  The main evaluation panels are: String Similarity, DNS Stability, Geographical Names, Technical Evaluation, Financial Evaluation, and Registry Services Panels.

For a more detailed overview of the application requirements and process, refer to the following links:

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