At a Glance
Following the advice of the ALAC, the New gTLD Applicant Support WG (JAS WG) succeeded in submitting its Second Milestone Report to the ALAC and GNSO in time for consideration at the Board's May retreat. The Report describes the WG's recommendations regarding the criteria that must be met by a new gTLD applicant to qualify for support and what that support should be. The ALAC forwarded both the Report and a summary of At-Large comments on the Report to the ICANN Board in time for its May retreat.
The Internet's Domain Name System (DNS) contains roughly two dozen generic top-level domains (gTLDs) – .com, .org, and .net being perhaps the best known. In order to promote competition (while still ensuring Internet security and stability), ICANN's Board decided to increase that number in June 2008 through a New gTLD Program. The result could be hundreds of new gTLDs.
Within this program, the Board has made inclusiveness a priority. To this end, at ICANN's Nairobi Meeting in March 2010, it issued a Resolution asking ICANN stakeholders "to develop a sustainable approach to providing support to applicants requiring assistance in applying for and operating new gTLDs."
As a result, a cross-constituency working group (WG), the SO-AC New gTLD Applicant Support WG (JAS WG) was formed and chartered by the ALAC and GNSO. This WG's mandate is to recommend ways ICANN can support applicants for new gTLDs, including ways of reducing barriers to new gTLDs in developing regions <http://brussels38.icann.org/node/12503>.
With the 9 May deadline for requesting agenda items for the Board's 20–21 May retreat looming near, the ALAC made a series of recommendations to the JAS WG on 29April. In short, the ALAC advised the WG to focus on developing consensuses on a small number of fundamental issues central to its mandate – particularly, on the criteria an applicant for a new gTLD would need to meet to qualify for support and on the type of support it could get.
A subgroup of the JAS WG, the JAS Drafting Team, had already begun sorting out these issues in its “JAS Issues and Recommendations” summary document. Taking the ALAC's advice, the JAS WG turned this document into its Second Milestone Report, which it submitted to the ALAC and GNSO on 7 May. At that point, the ALAC forwarded the Report to the Board – in time to be considered at its May retreat – and the ALAC and GNSO each initiated its own review of the Report.
The ALAC's review began with ALAC Chair Olivier Crépin-Leblond calling for comments from the At-Large Community. A summary of these comments, along with a minimally edited version of the JAS WG Report, was sent to the Board on 13 May, Finally, both the summary of comments and the Report itself underwent an ALAC ratification vote from 13 May through 17 May, resulting in both being approved.
JAS WG's Second Milestone Report
The JAS WG's Second Milestone Report marks an important step in ICANN's efforts to promote competition in the domain marketplace.
In the attempt to reduce obstacles to proposed gTLD applications (and support applications from developing economies), the Report explains the WG's recommendations regarding the following topics:
- Why certain gTLD applicants should receive support;
- Which applicants qualify for support (and how their applications should be evaluated); and
- What support should be given; and
- How the support process relates to the procedures in the gTLD Applicant Guidebook (AG).
Seth Greene, Interim Manager, Regional Affairs