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DAGv4 – Quick Look

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As briefly discussed in our blog yesterday, the ICANN New gTLD Applicant Guidebook has been delivered to the public and is open for public comment until the 21st of July, 2010. We weren’t expecting the guidebook to be released for at least another week but the release of the guidebook this early is good for the ICANN community because it allows the community a thorough read before the 38th ICANN Public Meeting in Brussels later this month. Perhaps it sets up ICANN to complete the final draft in early Fall 2010 (just a “glass half full” thought) or delay the final draft in favor of a version 5 (“glass half empty” thought) — I just can’t help it, I’m an optimist.

After getting some quality reading time in, I wanted to share some of the contents of DAG v4. Other than the description of the cross-ownership summary posted yesterday, a few simple changes that’ll affect most applicants (albeit just a little) are included in the draft. These include an applicant background check, a deposit for submitting an application, additional details on TLDs which make use of geographical names.

Background Checks

The background check is a necessary step that must be cleared before the application can enter the Initial Evaluation stage (Section 1.1.2.3). Background checks will performed by a third party and will be completed for entities as well as individuals who are listed on the application. For a list of items that may be include in the background check, see Section 2.1.

Application Deposit

While the official ICANN New gTLD Application Fee remains the same at 185,000 USD, the applicant is now required to put down a deposit of 5,000 USD for each TLD it intends to apply for when registering on the TLD Application System (TAS). This deposit will be applied to application fee which is due at the time ICANN designates. This is described briefly in section 1.1.2.1: Application Submission Period as well as detailed in sections 1.4.1.1 and 1.5.1.

Geographical Names

The new guidebook specifically says that country names like .japan will not be accepted (section 2.2.1.4.1). As stated before in all previous DAGs, government approval or support is needed for applicants who chose to apply for a city string or otherwise, geo TLD string. This version of the DAG also includes a sample letter of support.

Additional Information

DAG version 4.0 also includes some revisions to the Application Questions which are an attachment to Module 2 and are worth a quick review if you are a perspective New gTLD applicant. High Security TLDs (HSTLDs) have now been removed from the Applicant Guidebook and ICANN states that since this was a voluntary designation for New gTLD applicants the details of the program are beyond the scope of the Draft Applicant Guidebook. The policy will still be developed and the details will be ready by the time the ICANN application process begins.

The ICANN meeting in Brussels is a great opportunity for ICANN to get over some obstacles and hopefully constructive comments by the community can help move this process forward.