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What the Recent New gTLD Program Committee's Resolutions Regarding GAC Category 2 Advice and Name Collision Mean to the Contracting Process

by Christine Willett | 20 October 2013

After several months of work including input from numerous members of the ICANN community, the New gTLD Program Committee (NGPC) has taken action on two key issues affecting applicants of the program – GAC Category 2 Advice and Name Collision.

The actions taken by the NGPC enable affected applications to progress through key phases of the program to move forward once again. The resolutions of the NGPC can be found at:

GAC Category 2 Advice

In its Beijing Communiqué [PDF, 156 KB], the GAC issued advice to ICANN regarding safeguards on new gTLDs. The strings listed under Category 2 advice correspond to 186 New gTLD applications. On 19 August 2013, ICANN inquired as to whether the applicants of these 186 applications plan to operate the applied-for TLDs as exclusive access registries.

  • Applicants of 138 applications indicated that they do not intend to operate the applied-for TLDs as exclusive access registries and that their applications are currently consistent with this intent.
  • Applicants of 35 applications indicated that their applications currently state that the applied-for TLDs will be operated as exclusive access registries, but the applicants will not operate them as exclusive access registries.
  • Applicants of 10 applications indicated that the applied-for TLDs will be operated as exclusive access registries.
  • Applicants of 3 applications did not respond to the inquiry.

These responses were provided to the NGPC for their consideration. Based on these responses, the NGPC concluded that moving forward with those applicants that stated that they do not intend to operate their TLDs as exclusive access registries is consistent with the GAC advice. The NGPC thus directed staff to "move forward with the Contracting process for applicants for strings identified in the Category 2 Safeguard Advice that are prepared to enter into the Registry Agreement as approved."

What this means to applicants

Starting this week, ICANN will begin to send Contracting Information Requests (CIRs) to most applicants that were previously ineligible to receive CIRs solely due to GAC Category 2 advice. We will extend this invitation to all eligible applicants holding applications with priorities one through 1300.

Name Collision & Contracting

At its 18 May 2013 meeting, the ICANN Board adopted a Resolution to commission a study to identify the levels of potential impact posed by each applied-for new gTLD on the use of TLDs that are not currently delegated at the root level of the public DNS. The study, "Name Collision in the DNS," together with a proposal to manage the risks identified in the study, was published for public comment. Based on the comments received, staff updated the proposal. On 7 October 2013, the NGPC approved this updated proposal, titled "New gTLD Collision Occurrence Management Plan," to mitigate the risks of potential name collisions caused by the introduction of new gTLDs.

As a result, this week, ICANN will begin sending Registry Agreements to applicants that were previously held because their applied-for strings were in the uncategorized risk category. We will be using priority numbers to determine the order by which Registry Agreements will be sent to applicants.

Prioritization Numbers in Contracting

You may have noticed that I've mentioned Prioritization Number a couple of times in this blog. This is an important item for me, for ICANN and for applicants. As you may recall, the Prioritization Draw was one of the first official ICANN activities that I oversaw. I strongly believe in using and respecting priority numbers in all of the new gTLD Program processes. Please be assured that ICANN will continue using priority numbers to manage the Contracting process. In the procedures we have designed, an applicant's priority number continues to be used to:

  • Determine eligibility for CIRs and to send out CIR invites every Wednesday
  • Process CIR responses every Monday
  • Determine the order of applications to send Registry Agreements for signature every Tuesday
  • Countersign/execute Registry Agreements every Thursday

Each of the Contracting activities above is pegged to a day of the week. This is a shift from processing on a just-in-time basis. Based on our experience with Initial Evaluation and CIR Invitations, a weekly cadence further streamlines our ability to manage a complicated process that has many dependencies and numerous process contributors. It offers predictability, allows for a small team to be efficient and effective, and continues to honors application priority numbers.

I anticipate that some of you might be concerned that such a measured and methodical process will 'delay' your ability to sign a Registry Agreement. Although there may be a few days of delay as we transition to the new procedure, I am confident that you will see consistent and regular progress of application contracting under the new procedures. You should also know that this effort will now be managed by Trang Nguyen, Director, gTLD Operations. As many of you know, Trang managed the Initial Evaluation process and the weekly publication of IE results. I am confident Trang will bring the same level of discipline and dedication to the Contracting process as she has to Evaluation.

I look forward to continue engaging and working with you to move your applications through Contracting and toward delegation. If you have any questions about your application and the Contracting process, do not hesitate to contact the Customer Service Center at