Another Step Closer to the Launch of New gTLDs: 27 Applicants Have Passed Their Initial Evaluation

Robyn Norgan
Mar 25, 2013

ICANN, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, is getting closer to officially delegating the first new generic top-level domains (gTLDs). According to New gTLD Director Christine Willett, her best estimate for the release of new gTLDs on the market is mid-year, around May or June. So far, twenty-seven new gTLDs have passed their initial evaluation.

The initial evaluation of a gTLD looks at six key factors: string similarity, DNS stability, a review of registry services, a financial evaluation, a technical and operations evaluation, and for geographic names, a review of support from the relevant governments. All gTLDs must pass each of these factors to move on to the contract phase. gTLDs that did not pass all factors could potentially move on to an extended review, but only if they didn't pass the financial evaluation, the technical and operations evaluation, and the review of registry services.

So far the new gTLD applications have been in review for about nine months by ICANN and their expert panels. Having twenty-seven gTLDs pass their initial evaluation is a big milestone and according to Willett, if the application is not in contention it could progress to the contracting phase and then on to delegation by mid-year. This, of course, is a best case scenario that assumes the application has no objections to put it in contention, that the applicant can accept the registry agreement under the new gTLD program, and that the applicant will pass the predelegation testing, which tests their technical infrastructure.

All of the twenty-seven new gTLDs that passed are Internationalized Domain Names (IDNs). They sought prioritization in the process and were prioritized by ICANN in an effort to make the Internet more international. As Willet says, "ICANN chose to prioritize the IDN applications in the public interest and to serve the internationalization of the Internet and make the Internet more accessible to the individuals in parts of the world who are not familiar with the latin script; who are much more familiar with their native scripts."

Watch the entire interview on the Initial Evaluation Results with New gTLD Director Christine Willet below:

Post by Robyn Norgan