In advance of Community Priority Evaluation (CPE) commencing, ICANN has published final CPE Evaluation Guidelines to ensure quality, consistency and transparency in the evaluation process.
The CPE Guidelines are an accompanying document to the Applicant Guidebook, and are meant to provide additional clarity around the process and scoring principles outlined in the AGB. The Guidelines do not modify the framework or standards laid out in the AGB.
A number of applicants for new gTLDs have written to ICANN expressing their âgrave concerns relating to the Community Objection processâ, saying they believe the Expert Panels âdo not have any prior experience with the new gTLD programme or a deep understanding of the Applicant Guidebook (AGB).â
The letter from Shweta Sahjwani (Radix Registry), Reg Levy (Top Level Domain Holdings / Minds & Machines) and Jay Westerdal (Fegistry, LLC) says that as applicants they very carefully considered the definition of âcommunityâ in the AGB before applying under âcommunityâ or âstandardâ applications and that they did not try to âgame the systemâ.
They go on to say they did this in the belief that âICANN and its contracted parties would be responsible for upholding the AGB definitions at every stage of the programme.â
However they are concerned by how the Expert Panel that in evaluating the .architect and .fly applications âdo not even mention the definition of the term âcommunityâ as defined by the AGB, let alone whether the alleged community in question in each Objection is really a community.â
The letter concludes noting âseveral other instances in the Expert Determinations â¦ confirm our assertion that the Expert Panels simply have not adhered to the AGB while making their decisions.â
The letter also asks for ICANN to temporarily suspend decision making until it can âconduct a basic level of training for the actual Expert Panels on the AGB guidelines and their interpretations.â
ICANN is planning to issue a Request for Proposals to identify a provider for the Pre-Delegation testing that is specified in the gTLD Applicant Guidebook. The set of tests to be performed are specified at a high level in section 5.2. A detailed requirements document is being developed and will be included in the Request for Proposals that is planned for publication by the end of October 2012.
Interested parties are invited to read and familiarize themselves with section 5.2 of the gTLD Applicant Guidebook in preparation for the upcoming Request for Proposals. It is expected that there will be a relatively short tender period. The selected provider will be required to be ready to operate by the end of March 2013.
Interested parties can pre-register to the process by sending an email to <firstname.lastname@example.org> until the RFP is published. Pre-registered parties will receive direct updates on the process and the RFP once is ready.
The purpose of the Pre-Delegation Testing is to verify that the applicant has met its commitment to establish registry operations in accordance with the technical and operational criteria described in the gTLD Applicant Guidebook. Each applicant will be required to complete Pre-Delegation Testing as a prerequisite to delegation into the root zone.
The test elements cover both DNS server infrastructure and registry system operations. In many cases the applicant will perform the test elements as instructed and provide documentation of the results to ICANN to demonstrate satisfactory performance. At ICANN‘s discretion, aspects of the applicant’s self-certification documentation can be audited either on-site at the services delivery point of the registry or elsewhere as determined by ICANN.
The Pre-Delegation Testing provider Request for Proposals is planned for publication by the end of October 2012.
This ICANN announcement was sourced from:
ICANN has issued today a new version of the gTLD Applicant Guidebook. The Applicant Guidebook describes the requirements and procedures for submitting applications for new generic top-level domains (gTLDs), as well as the criteria and procedures for evaluation. See newgtlds.icann.org/en/about for more information about the New gTLD Program.
ICANN’s new Draft Applicant Guidebook has been launched with limited changes, or as Domain Incite describes it, “rather dull”. Among the changes Domain Incite notes are changes to reflect some of the Governmental Advisory Committee requests that ICANN’s board of directors acceded to in Singapore.Also, “if you’re a new gTLD applicant, and you have not registered with ICANN’s TLD Application System by 2359 UTC, March 29, 2012, you’re done – your application fails at the starting blocks.”
For the ICANN announcement and more information, see below:New gTLD Applicant Guidebook [ICANN announcement]
On 20 June 2011 the ICANN Board voted to approve the Applicant Guidebook for the New gTLD Program. Having concluded the detailed stakeholder discussions on policy and implementation for this program, ICANN is preparing for its launch: applications for new gTLDs are planned to be accepted 12 January – 12 April 2012. (Note: all applicants must at least register in the online application system by 29 March 2012.)The Applicant Guidebook is a comprehensive guide for applicants that describes the New Generic Top-Level Domain program’s requirements and evaluation processes. The Applicant Guidebook has been developed and improved through extensive public review by specialized working groups and ICANN’s Supporting Organizations and Advisory Committees. Each draft has been accompanied by extensive public comment analyses, explanatory memoranda, and independent reports. The modifications made to this version of the guidebook (version 2011-07-29) are primarily limited to changes directed by the Board resolution from the 20 June meeting in Singapore.What’s next?The Applicant Guidebook is intended to be an inclusive guide and will be regularly updated as aspects of the process are deemed necessary and are implemented. In addition to the Applicant Guidebook, a summary of changes since the last version and a discussion version of a process for amending the Applicant Guidebook are also posted. There are certain areas where work is still ongoing, such as: whether single character Internationalized Domain Names (IDNs) can be delegated as TLDs, ensuring continued registry operation through a continued operations instrument, and providing support for needy applicants through the work of the Joint Applicant Support (JAS) working group.As to the last issue, the Board is committed to providing support for applicants from developing countries, and the JAS working group has recommended the criteria for that support. ICANN is launching the first phase of an Applicant Support Program. This online work space was created to connect potential applicants who wish to establish a new public interest gTLD registry in their community with organizations who wish to offer either financial or non-financial assistance.ICANN advises to check the site regularly, they we will continue to add tools and resources.Below you will find the complete version of the Applicant Guidebook.
www.icann.org/en/topics/new-gtlds/rfp-clean-19sep11-en.pdfThis ICANN announcement was sourced from www.icann.org/en/announcements/announcement-4-19sep11-en.htm where there are also links to the various modules of the applicant guidebook.
It was with great interest that I read a recent announcement about a plan by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) to publish template answers on a wiki for the 22 questions relating to registry technical operations contained within ICANN’s new Top-Level Domain Applicant Guidebook.As someone who has spent the best part of six years following the development of the program (witnessing first-hand each evolution of the Applicant Guidebook) my first thought was one of bemusement – How can a generic solution taken “off the shelf” accurately demonstrate whether an applicant is capable of understanding the technical requirements for setting up and operating a new Top-Level Domain?Quite frankly, it can’t.The application process for new Top-Level Domains (TLD) has been carefully designed by ICANN to thoroughly examine whether an applicant has performed the required research to adequately understand what it means to own and operate a vital piece of Internet infrastructure. Operating a TLD is a huge responsibility that should not be taken lightly. The application process has been created in its current format to determine this.For the applicant, the risk of landing in Extended Evaluation, ICANN’s special audit system for applications that require further attention, is far too great to be toying with a one size fits all approach. In an attempt to save money, applicants will instead be at risk of losing at least $150,000 should their application fail the evaluation criteria set by ICANN.While consultants working closely with the ITU are correct in stating that applicants do not have to be currently operating Domain Name Registry Systems, they still must identify the technical solution that supports the specific Registry requirements of the application in question. The financial and organisational descriptions must do the same.The solution proposed by the ITU becomes even more unrealistic when you consider the following:- Registry technical operations must identify the intended registry system specifications such as: domain name lifecycle, servers, software, infrastructure, data centres, bandwidth providers, policies & procedures etc. Those who know will agree that this is impossible to do generically.- Any Registry Services provider worth a pinch of salt is offering the ‘technical operations’ component of the application free of charge with their back-end registry services solution. One has to question whether the approach suggested by the ITU is one that delivers a significant increase in risk without actually delivering any tangible cost reduction?- This is not a turnkey solution. Applicants will still be required to provide answers to non technical and financial sections, answers which need to be consistent with the information provided in the technical sections of the application, so those who consider the ITU’s approach will struggle to establish consistency throughout all sections of the application.- Without having properly researched, designed and finally settled on a technical solution, whether that be to outsource to industry experts, or build in-house, Applicants will not have the ability to identify information for other areas of the application such as Registry set up and operational costs that will be critical to the successful development of sound and accurate financials. Further, how will applicants be able to demonstrate to ICANN that the technical specifications provided can be delivered on?From my perspective, taking answers from another entity (whose content has no relation to any registry system (real or proposed)) clearly demonstrates two things: 1) You are proficient with the cut and paste function of your keyboard and; 2) You clearly lack the understanding necessary to manage a critical piece of Internet infrastructure such as a new Top-Level Domain.As any high school student can tell you, cutting and pasting answers from a wiki is prone to failure. Although the ITU claim that only ‘approved contributors’ will be able to edit the information, it is unclear how someone would be granted ‘approved contributor’ status. With the highly competitive nature of the TLD process, Applicants should be aware that the accuracy of the information contained within the template has the potential to be highly dubious and potentially even prone to subtle sabotage. I have no doubt that ICANN’s evaluators will be on the lookout for these responses, just like any good teacher would do.The message to prospective applicants here is simple: If you show disrespect to the evaluators and don’t give the technical criteria of your application the attention it truly deserves, then why should they take your application seriously.I am left with two equally horrifying questions: 1). Is this simply an attempt by the ITU to devalue and undermine the entire new TLD application process (and therefore ICANN)? 2). Does anyone at the ITU truly understand the goals of the application process and what it is intended to do?Were the ITU’s ambitions truly altruistic, they would spend their efforts providing capability advice and skills to the community. This approach would be useful and would not water down the quality of submissions to ICANN, as this solution almost certainly will.Finally, this blog does not set out to be self-serving. Yes, there is a level of confidence that comes with choosing a back-end registry provider that is established and experienced. However, ICANN has ensured that anyone who can fulfil the technical requirements will be awarded a TLD Registry. So, the point I am making is that the process of fulfilling the technical requirements of a new TLD Registry involves more than a simple cut and paste. It requires communicating a level of understanding that a new TLD is a piece of mission critical infrastructure and that there are enormous responsibilities that come with this.This posting by Chris Wright, Chief Technology Officer at AusRegistry International, was sourced from:
New gTLDs are going to be the topic that gets most people’s attention at next week’s ICANN meeting with the decision on whether ICANN will approve the Applicant Guidebook and launch the new gTLD programme. ICANN is intending to announce the programme launch on 20 June.Michele Neylon of Blacknight Solutions has pondered whether this will happen or not, saying it will happen at some time.”From a registrar perspective I have very grave concerns that some of the applicants might be more than a little naive in their expectations,” writes Neylon.”Let me explain.”With or without vertical integration a domain extension’s success will depend on the marketplace. Put another way, if nobody registers domain names then your registry will fail.”It’s that simple.”To read Neylon’s article in full, see: