Help Us Shape The Internet's Future

Draft for Public Comment

ALAC Calls for Comments on
"Draft Statement on the Proposed sTLD RFP and Suggested Principles for New TLD Processes"

Click here to read the draft statement

On 24 June 2003, ICANN's Board posted, as a draft for public comment, a "Request for Proposal" (RFP) to solicit applications for a limited number of new Sponsored Top-Level-Domains (sTLDs). It was issued in response to a directive to ICANN staff by the ICANN Board of Directors at its meeting in Amsterdam on 15 December, 2002, following submission by then President Stuart Lynn of a Plan for Action regarding new TLDs in general. The Plan for Action itself was in response to a directive from the ICANN Board at its 23 August 2002 meeting.

That Plan for Action proposed that ICANN could proceed with a limited number (the Plan actually called for three, but community comment encouraged not staying with a fixed number) of new sponsored TLDs prior to completing a full evaluation of the Proof of Concept initiated in the Fall of 2000. The Proof of Concept, following an open solicitation of proposals to establish new TLDs, eventually led to the establishment of four new unsponsored TLDs (.info, .biz, .name, and .pro) and three sponsored TLDs (.museum, .aero, and .coop). The Plan for Action stated and the Board accepted the views expressed that the unresolved issues inherent in launching new unsponsored TLDs (uTLDs), prior to the evaluation and a full review of how to proceed in the future, were too great to support proceeding at this time in soliciting applications for new uTLDs. Conversely, the Plan for Action stated the view that there was far less risk in proceeding presently with a limited number of new sTLDs, as an extension of the original Fall 2002 Proof of Concept.

This RFP follows the Board's preliminary decision (subject to approving the RFP itself) to proceed with a solicitation for applications for a limited number of new sTLDs as an extension of the Proof of Concept. However, in a refinement of the Plan of Action, the Board proposes to limit applications to those applicants (or their affiliates or successors as subsequently defined in this RFP) who submitted applications for sponsored TLDs in the original Fall 2000 round of applications, but were not approved at that time. This RFP reflects the Board's thinking in that regard, and is therefore limited in scope of eligible applicants. ALAC members seek public comment on a draft sharply critical of this process and of the limitations in the proposed RFP. The ALAC draft offers principles for a much more regular expansion of the namespace.

ICANN will be initiating a comprehensive study of whether and how to proceed with additional TLDs at the same time as the creation of new sTLDs is being considered through this RFP process, and as the evaluation of the original Proof of Concept is being completed. The outcome of that study may or may not support the continued growth of additional TLDs and may or may not continue the concepts of sTLDs and uTLDs. Until this more substantive review is completed, the Board does not feel it is appropriate to commit to a substantial expansion of sTLDs. The Board does, however, feel that there should be an opportunity to allow those who submitted applications for sTLDs in Fall 2000, but whose applications were not successful, to have an opportunity to submit updated and revised applications at this time, as an extension of the original Proof of Concept. For the reasons presented in the Plan of Action, this opportunity is not being extended to uTLD applicants. (see Establishment of new sTLDs: Request for Proposals, Appendix D for additional information).

Public input is requested on the following draft "ALAC Response to the Proposed sTLD RFP and Suggested Principles for New TLD Processes."

Comments to are requested by 8 September 2003 (Comments submitted will be publicly posted).