About the new Generic Top Level Domain Program
The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, founded in 1998, has as its mission to ensure a stable and unified global Internet. One of its key responsibilities is introducing and promoting competition in the registration of domain names, while ensuring the security and stability of the domain name system (DNS).
In 2005, ICANN's Generic Names Supporting Organization (GNSO) began a policy development process to consider the introduction of new gTLDs, based on the results of trial rounds conducted in 2000 and 2003. The GNSO is the main policy-making body for generic top-level domains, and encourages global participation in the technical management of the Internet.
The two-year policy development process included detailed and lengthy consultations with the many constituencies of ICANN's global Internet community, including governments, civil society, business and intellectual property stakeholders, and technologists.
In 2008, the ICANN Board adopted 19 specific GNSO policy recommendations for implementing new gTLDs, with certain allocation criteria and contractual conditions.
After approval of the policy, ICANN undertook an open, inclusive, and transparent implementation process to address stakeholder concerns, such as the protection of intellectual property and community interests, consumer protection, and DNS stability. This work included public consultations, review, and input on multiple draft versions of the Applicant Guidebook.
In June 2011, ICANN's Board of Directors approved the Guidebook and authorized the launch of the New gTLD Program. The program's goals include enhancing competition and consumer choice, and enabling the benefits of innovation via the introduction of new gTLDs, including both new ASCII and internationalized domain name (IDN) top-level domains.
The application window opened on 12 January 2012, and ICANN received 1,930 applications for new gTLDs. On 17 December 2012, ICANN held a prioritization draw to determine the order in which applications would be processed during Initial Evaluation and subsequent phases of the program. These applications were processed by ICANN staff and evaluated by expert, independent third-party evaluators according to priority numbers.
On 22 March 2013, ICANN released the first set of Initial Evaluation results to applicants and the public.
Applications that pass Initial Evaluation (and that do not face any objections or string contention) will be eligible to proceed to contracting.
About the Country Code Top-Level Domains (ccTLDs)
ccTLDs are two-letter Internet top-level domains (TLDs) specifically designated for a particular country, sovereign state or autonomous territory for use to service their community.
About ccTLD Compliance
ICANN does not have contract authority to take compliance action against ccTLD operators.
Although ICANN has signed over 50 Accountability Frameworks and Exchange of Letters and a limited number of sponsorship agreements and MoUs with ccTLDs, the scope of these arrangements is limited to documenting a small set of roles and areas of responsibilities between the ccTLD manager and ICANN.
For ccTLDs, this includes commitments to adhere to relevant technical standards. ICANN works cooperatively with ccTLD operators to resolve technical issues of the common interest to ensure the security, stability and operability of the Internet.
The ccTLD policies regarding registration, accreditation of registrars and Whois are managed according to the relevant oversight and governance mechanisms within the country, with no role for ICANN's Compliance department in these areas.
To contact a specific ccTLD operator in order to file a complaint or identify their local policies, refer to the IANA Root Zone Database which contains the authoritative record of the operators of each country-code top-level domain: Root Zone Database .