New gTLD Draft Applicant Guidebook, Version 4 Available for Public Comment

A fourth draft of the Applicant Guidebook that describes the process of applying for new generic top-level domains was released today along with explanatory memoranda and detailed analysis of comments received. The program continues to improve and moves toward completion thanks to the outstanding collaboration from the ICANN Community working groups whose expertise helped to address and bring toward closure several challenging issues.
Also posted are the summaries and analysis of the public comment period on topics such as: trademark & community protections, potential for malicious conduct, IDN issues and registry operations & agreement.
The new version has new content, including:
* Incorporation of trademark protections, including improvements to the Uniform Rapid Suspension (URS), the Trademark Clearinghouse (TM Clearinghouse), and the Post-Delegation Dispute Resolution Proposal (PDDRP);
* Changes to rules for geographic TLDs, including a prohibition on country names as gTLDs;
* A new gTLD Registry transition process model, including provisions for emergency transition in the case of prolonged Registry technical outages;
* A model for providing centralized zone file access (ZFA) to aid in combating malicious conduct;
* A revised base Registry agreement, the contract future registries must sign with ICANN, including new features such as:
o Registry-Registrar cross-ownership language — proposed position pending the Generic Names Supporting Organization (GNSO) policy-development work;
o Emergency Registry transition provision — to be used for protection of registrants in the event of prolonged Registry technical outage;
o Special new agreement provisions for governmental and inter-governmental organization (IGO) applicants — based on negotiations with Universal Postal Union (UPU) for .post (subject to modification for different circumstances of other similar organizations);
o New “hybrid” process for future amendments — based on consultations with Registries and others;
o New provisions for centralized registry zone file access (ZFA).
Among the accompanying materials, also open for comments are:
* Proposed New gTLD Program Budget
* Market/Economic Study: an initial analysis of the costs and benefits of the introduction of new gTLDs – to be released shortly
* Review & provide feedback to Applicant Guidebook
* Read Explanatory Memoranda & Related Reports
* Read Comments Summaries & Analyses