New gTLD Program — ICANN Proposes Draft Expression of Interest / Pre-Registrations Model

18 December 2009 ICANN is publishing today for public comment a draft model for soliciting Expressions of Interest for new generic top-level domains (new gTLDs) [PDF, 192K]. According to this EOI / pre-registration model, entities interested in participating in the first round of the New gTLD Program are required to submit basic information about the participating entity and the requested top-level domain, also referred to as “string”.

The model is a direct result of community recommendations for such an undertaking. The Board directed that a draft model be constructed based on public comment for additional discussion. A decision on whether to proceed and, if so under what model, will be taken after this round of public comment.

The public comment period opens on 18 December, 2009 and closes on 27 January, 2010. Details can be found at

The proposed model published today is not an operationally complete plan, i.e., it is not intended to include all the details that would be needed for implementation of a functioning process. Rather, it is intended to convey the detail necessary for robust public discussion. After the end of this public comment period, the ICANN Board will convene to consider the community feedback and decide on the path forward. A decision is expected in the first quarter of 2010. If approved, the final process and the opening date for EOI will be published.

Highlights of the draft EOI / pre-registration model:

  • Participation in the EOI is mandatory for eligibility to submit a gTLD application in the first round. Subsequent application rounds will be open to any eligible applicants.
  • A deposit of US$55,000 is required for the EOI, and will be used as a credit against the US$185,000 evaluation fee.
  • The deposit is refundable if the New gTLD Program does not launch within a specific time period. Details will be outlined in the final EOI model.
  • Participants are notified that there may be subsequent amendments to the Draft Applicant Guidebook. It is the intention to conclude many current open issues prior to initiation of the EOI process.
  • A fully executed communications campaign, intended to ensure global awareness about the EOI, will precede the opening of the process.
  • Participants will be required to provide specific information concerning the participating entity and the requested string.
  • The participant and string information will be made public.
  • The EOI launch is conditional on the conclusion of many of the outstanding issues, for example, issues concerning vertical separation and the IDN three-character string requirements. Solutions for these and other issues are expected to be included in the Draft Applicant Guidebook, version 4.

For details, please refer to [PDF, 192K].