Draft Applicant Guidebook: What You Told ICANN

ICANN logoA second draft of an Applicant Guidebook that details the process of applying for new generic top level domains was released today along with a detailed analysis of comments received so far [PDF, 588K].

A vital part of ICANN’s decision-making process is the feedback that the community provides. The first draft Applicant Guidebook saw hundreds of comments submitted.

“The amount of feedback and its quality is really pleasing” said Dr Paul Twomey, President and Chief Executive Officer. “We’ve listened carefully to what was said and that has produced many changes in this version of the Guidebook. It’s also clear that further discussion on some key areas is needed and we will start work on those immediately.”

In recognition of the response, ICANN’s staff has prepared a series of analyses, totaling 155 pages, and divided up according to specific topics so that that those making comments are able to see how their points were taken into account. The responses have directly influenced changes to the guidebook. In a further attempt to make the changes clear and accessible the draft Guidebook is in “red-line” format.

The second draft of the Guidebook has been released simultaneously with the analysis so that it is possible to see the direct relationship between the comments and the changes made.

There have been a number of overarching issues raised in the comment process that require further work and so remain unchanged in this draft. Those issues are:

  • Trademark protection
  • Security and stability
  • Malicious conduct
  • Demand and economic analysis

“It is very important to take the time to resolve these overarching issues. DNS stability, user protection, and trademark rights must not be undermined by the introduction of new gTLDS. As a consequence it is unlikely that the application round will open before December 2009” Dr Twomey said.

This is the first time this depth of analysis has occurred. Whilst ICANN relies heavily on public comment (over 50 comment periods were held in 2008) many have suggested that it is often difficult to understand how comments have shaped outcomes. This analysis is an attempt to address that concern.

The ICANN model remains one of coordination, not control, and the resilience of its decision-making has always stemmed from the process of bringing together different viewpoints.

“We are looking forward to meeting with the intellectual property community, the security community and all others that have an interest to work through specific suggestions for addressing their concerns in the next 6-8 weeks” Dr Twomey said.

New gTLD Applicant Guidebook Version 2 (V2) Public Comment Forum

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