What the New gTLD Program Means for You

23 October 2013 - A Workshop on Diversity in Bali, Indonesia

Internet Governance Forum 2013

Workshop # 217 Report

What the New gTLD Program Means for You

Organizer Name 

Esmat Baher

Organizer Entity 


Workshop Theme 

The Internet as an Engine for Growth and Advancement

Consise description 


The New gTLD Program is a major initiative that reflects the intensive participation of many stakeholders in the policy development and the implementation process. The program offers a range of opportunities for businesses and consumers alike, and increases diversity of scripts in the Domain Name System, as well as community representation in DNS related processes. 

In working out the details of the New gTLD Program, the multistakeholder collaborative process proved to be a rich source of expertise and a reliable methodology for resolution of complex and far-reaching global issues. 

ICANN has built many safeguards into its New gTLD Program to ensure that each applicant is technically and operationally qualified to run a registry. The safeguards are embedded within the evaluation criteria as well as in rights protection mechanisms and protections against potential malicious conduct. The New gTLD Program provides trademark holders with significantly more rights protection mechanisms than those available in existing TLDs such as .COM, .NET and .BIZ. Among them:

  • Trademark Clearinghouse
  • Uniform Rapid Suspension System
  • Trademark Post-delegation Dispute Resolution Procedure
  • Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy
  • Thick Whois
  • Malicious Conduct Mitigation

The workshop will provide a review of the current status of the program, including an update on the evaluation of applications, and related processes of delegation, formal objection and string contention. The workshop will also shed some light on the respective roles of governments, business, technical community and the larger Internet user community throughout the process.

As Internationalized Domain Names applications are prioritized in the evaluation process, the workshop will highlight how the New gTLD Program could contribute effectively to the development of a more inclusive, and multi-lingual Internet, with increased participation and capacity from communities around the world. 


The workshop is targeted toward those with an interest in the evolution of the Internet’s name space and related policy, legal, business and technical aspects. In summary, the workshop will address the following questions / issues:

  • The New gTLD Program: An example of a multistakeholder model at play (overarching issue);
  • Update on the program, and overview of evaluation process;
  • Role of governments in the process; GAC early warning and GAC advice, and how they fit in the process;
  • Mechanisms for string contention resolution and community priority evaluation;
  • Mechanisms for rights protection;
  • IDN applications and IDN variants within the program;
  • Impact of new gTLDs on the DNS sector; and the evolution of the sector in the developing economies.



Update on the program, and overview of evaluation process, string contention resolution and community priority evaluation (10 min) Role of governments in the process; GAC early warning and GAC advice, and how they fit in the process (10 min) Safeguards and mechanisms for rights protection (10 min) IDN gTLDs, IDN variants, and impact of IDNs on Internet take-up (10 min) Impact of new gTLDs on the DNS sector, and the evolution of the sector in the developing economies (10 min) Q&A (40 min)


Chris Disspain

Remote Moderator 

Baher Esmat

Have you organized workshops at previous IGFs?


Workshop format 


Workshop Transcript 


Brief substantive summary of the workshop and presentation of the main issues that were raised during the discussions 


Discussion revolved around the following agenda items:


Update on the program, and overview of evaluation process, string contention resolution and community priority evaluation:

  • Started with 1930 applications; few withdrawals; rest moved to initial evaluation; majority of applications passed initial evaluation; some are contentious / objected;
  • Signed over 60 contracts so far; some applications moved to pre-delegation testing; four passed pre-delegation testing and moved into delegation; delegation in the root is expected within the next few hours;
  • The four application are IDNs; two Russian, one Chinese, and one Arabic;
  • Managed the issue of string collision; managed to develop a plan to allow the applications to move forward while mitigating all the risk of collisions;
  • Majority of GAC advice has been accepted by the Board, and ICANN is working on implementing them;
  • Expect more delegations to happen every week, starting next week;
  • Once a top-level domain is in the root, Registries have to announce their sunrise plan; minimum 30 days notice and 30 days sunrise; minimum 60 days from delegation before registration can take place.


Role of governments in the process; GAC early warning and GAC advice, and how they fit in the process:

  • GAC advises ICANN Board on public policy issues; GAC works through consensus; the new gTLDs program is quite a broad program, many details and issues involved; some TLDs may be controversial from governmental perspective;
  • Process of two phases: 1) GAC early warning, where individual governments were able to raise their concerns via GAC; 242 early warning received (129 came from Australia); number of them touched upon geographical TLDs; however not all issues can be resolved; 2) GAC advice, whereby GAC advises the Board that certain strings are objected;
  • This has so far been successful; carrying out all these mechanisms was an important test for the GAC; geographical terms are sensitive to governments; would have been better to have rules set beforehand;
  • Other controversial strings were religious, geo-political, and those related to regulated markets / closed domains.


Safeguards and mechanisms for rights protection:

  • Speaking to the Microsoft experience - challenge was to have a strategy regarding new gTLDs; a) category strategy, b) brand strategy; one of the challenges was that Microsoft’s brands are generic names (i.e. windows, office); important to ensure that brands are protected and not abused by ours; from a perspective of a brand owner, critical thing was to protect the brand, leverage it and control its meaning.
  • A lot of work needs to be done before end users can register under new gTLDs; the broader question is how end users are going to react to this new space; there is engineering work in browsers and search engines; also the rise of apps and impact they may have is something to consider.


IDN gTLDs, IDN variants, and impact of IDNs on Internet take-up:

  • Millions of people benefit from IDNs;
  • UNESCO / EURid IDN report concluded that two groups of issues hinder the IDN uptake: 1) awareness and registration policies – liberal versus conservative policies; and 2) technical issues and user experience – one of the main obstacles is lack of email service, also majority of popular browsers do not fully master the IDNs;
  • It is a kind of a vicious circle where the negative or poor user experience leads to a low uptake in IDNs;
  • Public statement made recently by UNSECO DG commended technical community on work done so far, and encouraged more work to address technical challenges.


Impact of new gTLDs on the DNS sector, and the evolution of the sector in the developing economies:

  • Early concerns raised about application fee as a barrier for developing countries; as a consequence, ICANN Board adopted a resolution in Nairobi (2010) to form a community WG to look into this issue (JAS WG); after two years of work, ICANN created a fund of $2m to support applicants from developing economies, which was a good decision; but criteria was very tough so people refrained from applying; out of ~1900 applications only 1% from Africa and 1.25% from LAC; only 3 applications asked for financial support, and only one was approved;
  • Developing economies did not benefit from this round of the program; more outreach is required for future rounds; or perhaps future rounds should be dedicated to developing countries. 


Conclusions drawn from the workshop and further comments 


  • Two opposite opinions on new gTLD outreach campaign: 1) it reached out to many organizations and companies around the world, but the world is pretty large; best advertisement is when this round goes live; 2) it was not enough and the first round was a lost opportunity for developing countries.
  • Decision on the second round is the community’s decision; need to evaluate the first round before getting into any discussion on second round; may take at least 2-4 years to judge technical/economic and user issues; GAC needs some adaptation to the program before going to second round; governments are keen to see increase in uptake from developing countries; could be a good idea to have the second round dedicated to IDNs / developing countries’ needs; challenge for all of us is to make sure that his round is working well to make sure we can successfully evolve over the next few years.
  • ICANN is putting together a set of metrics to monitor the rollout of the program and how successful it will be. 


Reported by 

Baher Esmat

Estimate the overall number of women participants present at the session 

About half of the participants were women

To what extent did the session discuss gender equality and/or women's empowerment? 

It was not seen as related to the session theme and was not raised

Discussion affecting gender equality and women's empowerment 


Workshops Staticals 
Number of FEMALE participantsNumber of MALE participantsNumber of Young participantsNumber of Developing Countries ParticipantsNumber of Developed Countries ParticipantsNumber of LDCs participantsNumber of TOTAL Participants
0 0 0 0 0 0 0