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ICANN Initiates Contracting Phase of the New gTLD Program

ICANN will begin inviting applicants to commence the Registry Agreement contracting phase of the New gTLD Program (“Contracting”).  Invitations will be sent, in prioritization draw order, only for applications that:

  • Have passed Initial Evaluation;
  • Are not currently in a contention set;
  • Do not have an unresolved objection filed against it;
  • Are for a string that is not referenced in the Governmental Advisory Committee’s Beijing Communiqué (specifically, Section IV.1.a, Section IV.b., Annex I Category 1 Safeguard Advice or Section IV.1.c.i Strings for Further GAC Consideration thereof); and
  • Are not currently subject to a change request (a) for which ICANN has not yet approved or denied the requested changes and (b) for which the 30 day public comment period following posting of the amended application has not yet expired.

Please note, execution of a New gTLD Registry Agreement (“Agreement”) is subject to all terms set forth therein and in the gTLD Applicant Guidebook and may be dependent on resolution of certain outstanding matters that could impact provisions to be incorporated into the notified applicant’s final Agreement. An invitation at this stage will not be considered the "notification date" per Section 5.1 of Module 5 (triggering the 9-month window for execution).

As such, ICANN may not finalize signing of the Agreement for certain strings; however, submission of all required information for invited applicants will enable them to proceed through the administrative aspects of the Contracting process earlier.

To proceed through the administrative aspects of the Contracting process, notified applicants must provide all necessary information required to complete the Agreement.  To assist in this process, ICANN has created a Contracting Information Request (CIR) form that outlines what information is required. To help expedite this process, applicants are encouraged to provide their formal response to the CIR form as soon as possible after receipt of notification, and must also ensure that all such information is complete, accurate, and up-to-date. 

ICANN has created CIR Guidance documents to help applicants correctly complete and submit the CIR form. Please note, these guidance documents are not designed to represent an exhaustive list of the requirements of the Agreement. It is the applicant’s obligation to ensure any and all requirements stated in the Applicant Guidebook or per the terms and conditions of the Agreement, have been met.  ICANN reserves all rights set forth in the Applicant Guidebook and Agreement as approved by the Board and will not enter into any Registry Agreement until all requirements have been met.