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ICANN Holds First New gTLD Auction

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AuctionsICANN held its first Auction of Last Resort for New gTLD contention sets on June 4th. An Auction of Last Resort is the final option that new gTLD applicants with competing bids can use in order to solve their contention sets. If applicants are unable solve the contention between themselves, applicants will be forced into an ICANN Last Resort Auction.

This auction process has been in the planning stages for quite sometime and it is refreshing to see some action. ICANN, through its authorized auction services provider, Power Auctions LLC, completed the first auction for the string 信息, (xn--vuq861b) which means “info” in Chinese. Two applicants, Afilias Limited and Beijing Tele-info Network Technology Co., LTD. are in this contention set.

Beijing Tele-info Network Technology Co., LTD. prevailed in the auction for the winning price of $600,000. According to the bidding info shared by ICANN, the highest bid was 900,000 USD by Beijing Tele-info and was sold at the second highest bid per auction rules.

It’s quite odd that Afilias, the operator for .info would let this string go, and at such a low price as well. The proceeds from the auction will be placed into a fund and put to use for an unspecified purpose.

This was the first auction for the New gTLD program. Subsequent auctions are scheduled to occur on a monthly basis throughout 2014 and into early 2015.

Three Easy Steps to Help You Prepare for New gTLDs

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New-TLDsSince 2009 we have been talking about how New Top Level Domains (New gTLDs) were going to come online in scores. Well, it appears that the domain frenzy has just begun!

Donuts Inc., a new registry services company, is at the forefront of the expansion. Applying for an astounding 307 New gTLDs, Donuts is leading the way in term of getting New gTLDs online. This week the company added 15 more TLDs to the Internet’s root zone. Today there are 31 new extensions accepting applications. If you are a brand, thats 31 domains you’ll have to consider registering — and that number is going to increase to over 600 very quickly.

Here are three easy steps you can take now to be ready for all these new extensions.

Step 1: Register Your Trademarks in the Trademark Clearinghouse

Each new registry, the entity that operates a new gTLD, is required to hold a “Sunrise Period“. This period gives rights holders the opportunity to register domain names matching their registered trademarks before anyone else can access the TLD. The Trademark Clearinghouse, or TMCH, was designed to make registering domain names in this period simple, and is a prerequisite to registering a domain name in the Sunrise Period.

Once you register your mark in the TMCH, you will be able to quickly and easily register a domain name matching your trademark across all available TLDs. Registering a mark is simple, and can be done online.

Step 2: Plan Ahead – You DON’T Have to Register in ALL new gTLDs

Review the list of new gTLDs that have been applied for, and narrow down the list down until it is manageable. Find some nice niche keyword TLDs that fit your brand for example “sony.electronics”, or “kia.autos” — these are a given. Next, find any TLDs that need protecting, for example, “brand.sucks” “brandname.web”. Any consultant telling you to register in all new gTLDs has his head on backwards.

Chances are you have a limited budget, and you’d be wise to stretch that budget as far as you can. Take a look at self-managing your domain names. We make it simple, and we’ll never let your domain expire.

Step 3: Monitor the New Landscape

The TMCH also acts as the first line of defense for protecting your brand in New gTLDs. Anytime a third party tries to register a domain name matching your TMCH record, you’ll receive a notice. This will help you easily monitor the new gTLD landscape and take action quickly if necessary.

Learn more about the TMCH by watching the video below, or visit our registrar partner to get started with your TMCH registration today, and begin registering in the Sunrise period online.

 

Internet Soon to be Flooded with New TLDs

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Today, ICANN has announced that nine more TLDs were registered in the Internet’s Root Zone and will soon be available to customers. Below are the gTLDs or strings that have successfully completed the Program.

Trademark holders will have the first option to apply to register their trademarked names in these TLDs as early as the end of November. We expect that the newly introduced TLDs will be available to consumers beginning in January 2014. All ASCII names will be available though Gonbei Domain. Stay tuned for more information!

Delegation Date String Registry
11/6/2013 .VENTURES Binky Lake, LLC
11/6/2013 .CAMERA Atomic Maple, LLC.
11/6/2013 .CLOTHING Steel Lake, LLC
11/6/2013 .LIGHTING John McCook, LLC
11/6/2013 .SINGLES Fern Madison, LLC
11/6/2013 .VOYAGE Ruby House, LLC
11/6/2013 .GURU Pioneer Cypress, LLC
11/6/2013 .HOLDINGS John Madison, LLC
11/6/2013 .EQUIPMENT Corn Station, LLC
10/23/2013 شبكة (xn--ngbc5azd)– Arabic for web/network International Domain Registry Pty. Ltd.
10/23/2013 онлайн (xn--80asehdb)– 「online」のキリル文字表記 CORE Association
10/23/2013 сайт (xn--80aswg)– Cyrillic for Site CORE Association
10/23/2013 游戏(xn--unup4y)– Chinese for game Spring Fields, LLC

 

New gTLD Delegations Set to Begin

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The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) began its contracting process for New gTLD Registry Operators back in July 2013 when it ceremoniously invited representatives from four registries up on stage to sign the first registry agreements at its public meeting held in Durban, South Africa. This was a huge milestone for ICANN and sent good vibes throughout the community that the new gTLD program was on track.  ICANN had announced that it would be able to sign agreements to the tune of 20 per week.

Unfortunately, the plans for the contracting process didn’t fully go as anticipated.  It took over a month for the next twelve contracts to finally get executed, and today only 70 new gTLD contracts have executed. It seemed like progress had been stalled after community insiders presented ICANN with concerns over “name collisions” — the possibility that requests for internal names used in private networks (.mail, .home, or .corp) will query the public root and thus collide with newly delegated TLDs in the public root —  in New gTLDs, and asked ICANN to further delay the launch of New gTLDs until it can guarantee the safety and stability issues in the DNS.

Despite the many challenges that face the program, today ICANN enthusiastically announced that the first four domains had been cleared to proceed to delegation.  The first four strings were the first to contract with ICANN and now appear to be on their way into the Internet’s Root Zone.  There is no word on the timeline for the delegation, nor for subsequent launch, but New gTLD Applicants can sleep well tonight knowing that progress has been made.

These first New gTLDs to be added to the root are all IDN strings:

  • شبكة (xn--ngbc5azd) – the Arabic word for “Web” or “Network”
    Registry : International Domain Registry Pty. Ltd.
  • онлайн (xn--80asehdb) – Russian for “Online”
    Registry: Core Association
  • сайт (xn--80aswg) – Russian for “Web site”
    Registry: Core Association
  • 游戏 (xn--unup4y) – Chinese for “Game”
    Registry: Spring Fields, LLC

Indeed this is a big step for the future of the Internet and 2014 will bring about a lot of changes to the Domain Name System.

 

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Independent Objector Files 24 Objections for New gTLDs

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English: Professor Alain Pellet at the International Court of Justice Français

ICANN’s Independent Objector for the New gTLD Program, Alain Pellet, has filed 24 objections against new gTLD applications. The objections, filed with the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), were for several healthcare related strings as well as dotBrand applications for TLDs that have a similar geographic name, such as the hotly contested .PATAGONIA.

Below is a full list of objections filed by the Independent Objector.





Community Related Objections:

Limited Public Interest Objections:

General Motors Withdraws its New gTLD App for .GMC

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American automaker, General Motors, has withdrawn its application to ICANN for the .GMC New gTLD. This is the 15th application withdrawn from the New gTLD program, and the first from an automaker.

General Motors is known throughout the world as “GM” and planned on operating the .GMC for branding purposes due to restrictions not allowing two-letter strings.  In addition to its application for .GMC, General Motors also applied for .BUICK, .CADILLAC, .CHEVROLET, and .CHEVY.

We have counted around 30 automobile brand applications in the program:

.alfaromeo .chrysler .honda .lincoln
.audi .datsun .infinity .maserati
.bently .dodge .jaguar .mini
.bmw .ford .jeep .mitsubishi
.buick .fiat .kia .nissan
.bugatti .ferrari .lamborghini .suzuki
.chevy .gmc .landrover .toyota
.chevrolet .hynday .lexus .volvo
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The GAC Issues 242 Early Warning Notices to New gTLD Applicants

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English: Professor Alain Pellet at the International Court of Justice Français

ICANN’s Independent Objector for the New gTLD Program, Alain Pellet, has filed 24 objections against new gTLD applications. The objections, filed with the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), were for several healthcare related strings as well as dotBrand applications for TLDs that have a similar geographic name, such as the hotly contested .PATAGONIA.

Below is a full list of objections filed by the Independent Objector.

 

 

 

Community Objections filed by the Independent Objector:

 

gTDL string

Applicant

Application ID

.Amazon
.アマゾン[Amazon]
.亚马逊[Amazon]
.Charity
.Charity
.慈善 [Charity]
.Healthcare
.Hospital
.Indians
.Med
.Med
.Medical
.Patagonia

 

Limited Public Interest Objections filed by the Independent Objector:

 

gTDL string

Applicant

Application ID

.Health
.Health
.Health
.Health
.Healthcare
.Hospital
.Med

ICANN Receives 1,930 New TLD Applications

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ICANN has announced that it has successfully received 1,930 New gTLD applications in the first open round of the New gTLD program. Of those applications only 84 have been designated as “Community-Based,” and 66 are designated as geographic name applications.

Here is a breakdown of where the applicants are from:

  • North America : 911
  • Europe: 675
  • Asia-Pacific: 303
  • Latin America and the Caribbean: 24
  • Africa: 17

ICANN has confirmed that 230 strings have multiple applications involving a total of 751 applicants.

View ICANN’s release here.

 

Reveal Day – Who Applied For What

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So this is it, the moment we’ve all been waiting for is just a little more than a day away.  ICANN plans to reveal who applied for what during a live event being held in London on Wednesday June 13.

News from applicants and service providers has been flooding the wire since the official close of the application period on May 30th.   Here is a summary of what we know a day out from the big Reveal Day:

 

Finally, on the homefront here in Japan, GMO Internet in Japan has applied for several geographic TLDs, including .tokyo, .osaka, .nagoya, and .yokohama.  The company has poured lots of cash in its bid for .Shop as well.  GMO has relationships with several large brands in Japan and secured Canon and Hitachi early on in.  (Back-end system is believed to be CloudRegistry)

Reveal Day is just another small step in a long process. After the strings are fully announced tomorrow applicants will have their work cut out. Let the contention resolution begin!

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New TLD Application Period Officially Closes, Next Phase Begins

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That’s it! After months of hard work, and over a month of system-down time the TLD applications system (TAS) has closed, signaling the end of the New gTLD application period.  ICANN will not accept any more applications for New TLDs for a while — probably a long while.

The road forward for new TLD applicants is likely to be a long and windy one.  So far, here is what applicants have to look forward to:


June 13: Reveal Day!!


This is the day ICANN will post all applied for TLD strings and who applied for them. If you are an applicant, this is a big day for you!

Once the strings and applicants have been publicly posted, ICANN will begin the public comment process.  This 60-day window allows for any interested parties to submit comments about the strings and their applicants.  These comments may be considered by evaluation panels.

ICANN will also open up the objection filing period on reveal day.  This will give any party with sufficient “grounds” an opportunity to submit a formal objection to any submitted applications.   This period will remain open for 7 full months.

 

Batch Selection Process


ICANN has stated that it can only evaluate approximately 500 applications at a given time.  Since there are approximately 2,000 applications in the queue some applicants will have to be very patient.  You can play a game of “digital archery” to determine which batch your application will be evaluated in. ICANN anticipates beginning the batch selection process on the 8th of June and announcing the results on July 11, 2012.  This would allow the Initial Evaluation of the first batch of applications to begin on July 12th.

According the New gTLD applicant guidebook, a straightforward application could get though the evaluation process and delegation in about 9 months.  This would put the earliest TLD launches somewhere around this time next year.

The second half of 2012 should be exciting!

A Look At How the New TLD Space is Shaping up in Japan

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As the New TLD Application deadline steadily approaches things are finally starting to become clear in Japan.

Here is a quick rundown on how things are shaping up in the Japanese market.

Brand TLDs:

Over the past few years I have been in meetings with dozens of brand holders, from large multinational corporations to small-medium sized local companies, each wondering how New gTLDs will impact their brand and online branding strategies.

Based on my own personal experience I expect around 40-50 .brand applications to come from Japan. Unfortunately, I suspect that a lot companies will submit applications just to “protect” their brands.  I hope that these companies’ TLDs will eventually evolve into a more creative and innovative use of the DNS, but I guess we’ll just have to wait and see. I also expect to see a few nation-wide companies embrace the opportunity as well. As we all know, Canon and Hitachi are the only Japanese companies that have publicly announced their intentions to apply.

City TLDs:

At this point only Tokyo, Osaka, and Kyoto (in that order) have completed the RFP process, evaluated potential applicants, and provided letters of support/letters of non-objection.  All three cities have explicitly stated that they are only supporting applications for the ASCII versions of the TLD.

Tokyo endorsed GMO Registry as the registry operator and Interlink as the backup registry operator.  Osaka recently gave permission to a total of four companies looking to apply (GMO Registry, Interlink, BusinessRalliart, and Future Spirits).  And finally, just yesterday, the government of Kyoto announced that have endorsed the Kyoto Jouhou Gakuen (Kyoto College of Graduate Studies for Informatics (KCGI)) as the applicant for .Kyoto.

Other governments seeking interested parties include:

 

Generic TLDs:

Only two companies have publicly anounced intentions to apply for generic strings. Those strings are .Shop (GMO Registry) and .SiTE (Interlink).  Both have a high probability of contention. Additionally, Interlink held a contest called the World Domain Cup in which Internet users voted for .earth, and Interlink is currently preparing the application.  I only expect around 5 to 7 generic applications form Japan, but sincerely  hope I’m wrong. Really wrong.

We’ll keep you posted!

When Will the Second Round of New gTLD Applications Begin?

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So, when will the second round of New gTLD applications take place?

That is a good question.

A very good question.

While the goal of having a second New gTLD application round has always existed, it has never been clear as to when the second round will actually take place.

 

So what does the official Applicant Guidebook say?

Section 1.1.6 of the Applicant Guidebook states:

ICANN’s goal is to launch subsequent gTLD application rounds as quickly as possible. The exact timing will be based on experiences gained and changes required after this round is completed. The goal is for the next application round to begin within one year of the close of the application submission period for the initial round.

 

ICANN has committed to reviewing the effects of the New gTLD Program on the operations of the root zone system after the first application round, and will defer the delegations in a second application round until it is determined that the delegations resulting from the first round did not jeopardize root zone system security or stability.

At yesterday’s New gTLD outreach event in Tokyo, ICANN board member, Kuo-Wei Wu, stated that the board doesn’t wish to create a “gold rush” mentality, and companies and entrepreneurs should not rush to make a decision. While it’s true that every company looking into a “.brand” should take into consideration all aspects of their business and marketing strategies before making the plunge; can they really afford not become a early mover?  Can entreprenuers with a great idea afford to wait until the next round to make their final decision? The fact is at this stage nobody really knows when the second round will take place.  And, without that information, it makes the decision making process that much more difficult.

All we have from ICANN at this stage is a goal which sets a possible second round as early as April 2013.

But, is this really possible?  Considering the community driven structure of ICANN, I would venture to say that perhaps 2013 is not very realistic.  The above passage from the guidebook states that ICANN will base the timing on “experiences gained and changes required after this round.” Does “this round” refer to just the application window, or the entire evaluation and delegation process? I don’t think ICANN would start a subsequent round if stakeholders haven’t been able to evaluate the entire process as a whole.  Even if ICANN does manage to implement a second round of applications in the next year and a half, the second paragraph of the above passage states that delegations will be deferred until ICANN can review the effects of prior delegations on the root zone — and delegations could last well into 2014.  If ICANN has to resort to batch processing of applications in the event that more than 500 applications are received in the first round, then we can expect this process to take even longer.

Kuo-Wei Wu emphasized that the members of the ICANN Board are still having discussions about this topic and hope to provide a better answer to the community as soon as possible.

ICANN Releases New Version of the Applicant Guidebook

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ICANN Releases the Newest Version of the New gTLD Applicant Guidebook (Sept. 19, 2011)

A new version of the gTLD Applicant Guidebook was published earlier today by ICANN.  Is this the final version of the Applicant Guidebook?  According to the cover page it is “Version 2011-09-19,” and hasn’t been branded as the “Final Version.”

In the past, every release of the Applicant Guidebook has been accompanied by a redlined version, unfortunately, not this this time.   This version, the 8th version of the guidebook, has been published along side a summary of changes which gives some details of what changes were made.
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ICANN 41 Report: The Course is Set for New gTLD Implementation

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Now that the New gTLD Program has been approved, and the Applicant Guidebook is pretty much in its final condition, ICANN can begin working on the implementation of the New gTLD program and its collective parts. Some issues currently on the radar are:

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ICANN 41 Report: ICANN Votes to Expand TLD Space

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Boardvote-newtlds

It has been over a week since ICANN 41 kicked off in Singapore and the ICANN Board approved the New gTLD program. Of course, the big news is the approval of the New gTLD program, so we’ll start there.

Just before Monday’s approval of the New gTLD program, the ICANN Board and the Governmental Advisory Committee had a chance for one last meeting to discuss open issues regarding the program. The meeting focused on GACs comments on the current version of the Applicant Guidebook, which were submitted on May 27th, and a letter, which was sent to the board a day prior to the meeting.
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A Look Inside the Unofficial Final New gTLD Applicant Guidebook

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The seventh version of the New gTLD Guidebook was released yesterday afternoon (5/31 JST) and is set to go in front of the ICANN board for consideration on June 20th.

The guidebook was released with a caveat that some of the proposed details remain open for consultation and revision.  According to the statement released with the guidebook, the Board and Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC) have scheduled a meeting on the 19th of June for further discussion.
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State of the Domain Name Industry – Ready for New gTLDs

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A few comments are still lingering about suggesting that ICANN has not shown significant demand or quantifiable benefits for New gTLDs through its economic studies. Though I will not argue the content of the many economic reports or the legitimacy of the models used to demonstrate demand or a lack thereof for New gTLDs, I would venture to say that a few examples — .UK taking over .ORG as the fourth largest TLD, .AU and .CA enjoying a 20 percent plus growth, .РФ (.RF – IDN ccTLD for Russia) registration explosion upon launch, and .CO easily crossing the 600k registration mark in its first year of operations — are all fine examples that the domain industry is healthy and is indeed ready for new gTLDs.

via VeriSign Inc. (http://www.verisigninc.com/)

Yesterday, VeriSign released its 2011 first quarter domain report.  According to the report the total domain count across all TLDs had crossed 209 million.  The first quarter of 2011 saw an increase of 4.5 million domains, 3.3 million of those registrations belong to .NET/.COM (the reports lists 8.3 million which appears to be a typo.) According to the report, the entire domain industry saw a 7.9% increase in domain registrations in the past year.

JPRS (Japan Registry Services Co., ltd) also released its report for 2010 (showing a gain of around 58,000 names, a 5% increase from Jan. 2010 to Jan. 2011). This is on par with the aggregate growth for all ccTLDs in the last year as stated in the VeriSign report.  Australia (.AU) and Canada (.CA) experienced 20% growth year over year. The ccTLD for the United Kingdom (.UK) moved up as the fourth largest TLD after .COM .DE (Germany) and .NET.  China continues to drop down the list and now sits as the ninth largest TLD in the world (fifth among top ccTLDs.)





Here are the top ten TLD TLDs according to Verisign’s Domain Industry Brief.

1. COM (Verisign) 6. INFO (Afilias)
2. NET (Verisign) 7. NL (Netherlands – SIDN)
3. DE (Germany – DENIC) 8. EU (European Union – EURID)
4. UK (United Kingdom – Nominet) 9. CN (China – CNNIC)
5. ORG (PIR – Afilias) 10. RU (Russian Federation – RU-CENTER)

The total number of ccTLDs grew to approximately 81.7 million names (increase of 1.6 million names over the previous quarter). The top ten ccTLDs are:

1. DE (Germany) 6. RU (Russian Federation)
2. UK (United Kingdom) 7. BR (Brazil)
3. NL (Netherlands) 8. AR (Argentina)
4. EU (European Union) 9.  IT (Italy)
5. CN (China) 10. PL (Poland)

ICANN Signs Agreement With ICM Registry for .XXX

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On April 1st, ICANN signed the Registry Agreement with ICM Registry for .XXX. ICANN General Counsel & Secretary, John Jeffrey followed up on the singing by explaining the delicate nature of the contract with ICM Registry in a blog post.

ICM Registry filed its application for the .XXX domain extension (gTLD) in 2004 and initially had it approved by ICANN in June 2005, only to later have it denied. The triple-x domain name has been a controversial topic in the ICANN community as well as leaders in the adult community for which it is proposed to serve. After seven years of waiting in line, ICM Registry, the registry operator for .XXX, finally made it through the ICANN process.
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ICANN Approves XXX and New gTLD Timeline

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The ICANN Board Votes on .XXX and New gTLDs in San Francisco

The ICANN Board approved the .XXX domain name extension and adopted a new timeline for the New gTLD program last Friday at its regularly scheduled meeting of the ICANN Board held in San Francisco.

ICANN carefully decided to proceed with the execution of the .XXX new domain extension on Friday at its board meeting and published its rationale for doing so along with the adoption of the resolution.

In an effort to push the New gTLD process to the finish line, ICANN also adopted a new working timeline for its new gTLD process. According to the timeline pictured below, ICANN has set its sights on approving the Applicant Guidebook at a special meeting of the ICANN board scheduled for June 20th 2011. Generally, ICANN holds a board meeting following the conclusion of the public meeting, however, this time the organization has scheduled a special board meeting to kick off the 41st ICANN meeting form June 20th – 24th in Singapore. Peter Dengate Thrush, the current Chairman of the ICANN Board, expects a huge party in Singapore for the official kickoff of the New gTLD program.
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Hitachi Ltd. Makes Plans for .brand TLD

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Hitachi, Ltd. quietly made its intention on applying for a new top-level domain public today.

An official release on Hitachi’s website cannot yet be found, but Japan’s largest domain name registrar has posted a news release on their Investor Relations page today confirming that they have partnered with Hitachi to supply the application and back-end registry operations for “.hitachi”.
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ICANN Responds to .Brand Issues

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The summary and analysis for comments on the New gTLD Applicant Guidebook was made available earlier today.

Several well-known brands such as IBM, Adobe Systems, AT&T, Lego, Microsoft and Verizon commented on the most recent version of the Applicant Guidebook.  Most of these comments focused on the Rights Protection Mechanisms (RPMs) for trademark holders as well as special requirements required to run a .brand registry. Continue Reading →

NXT Conference 2011

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Part of the thrill of observing the New gTLD process since its official kickoff in 2008 has been observing the policy making bodies, and listening to experts from many different backgrounds make arguments on whether or not ICANN should continue this program that will ultimately bring about an explosion of new Internet extensions.  After attending many ICANN meetings focused on policy and procedures, it was a breath of fresh air to get together with colleagues that have similar goal in mind at a conference recently held in San Francisco, California.
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New gTLD Program Launch: Getting it Right

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ICANN-Report

Exactly three weeks ago, I stood up in front of a modest-sized gathering of colleagues and over-enthusiastically proclaimed that I believed the New gTLD application period would begin in mid to late August 2011.  I confidently stated “if not August, definitely by the end of the year.”  This rather optimistic prediction took place at a recent ICANN Report Meeting sponsored by IAjapan and JPNIC; an event to report what took place at the preceding ICANN meeting to industry professionals in Japan.

Of course, anyone who has been involved in the New gTLD process, in any capacity, should know better than to use adverbs like, “certainly,” “absolutely,” or “definitely” when discussing any sort of timeline that has to do with the New gTLD program launch.
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New gTLD Program Reaches Turning Point in Cartagena

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The ICANN meeting in Cartagena de Indias, Colombia started for us while sitting on the plane prior to departure in Tokyo; the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) had just submitted some strong comments on the process which ICANN has undertaken to move forward with approval and implementation of the New gTLD program.
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.CYM and Other Strings not Eligible

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Community Top Level Domain registry hopeful, dotCYM, has been campaigning to run new top level domain, .cym, to benefit the Welsh community since before ICANN officially announced its New gTLD Program in 2008. Unfortunately, it now appears that .CYM is no longer possible.
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ICANN Releases Proposed Final Applicant Guidebook

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ICANN has published the Proposed Final Applicant Guidebook over this past weekend.  According to the schedule posted by ICANN on a few weeks ago (October 30th, 2010 JST) the newest version of the Guidebook was only a few days behind a very tight schedule.

In order to jump back on track, ICANN has shortened the Public Comment Period to less than 30 days to enable the board to evaluate any issues before it votes to approve the Applicant Guidebook at the upcoming board meeting on December 10th in Cartagena de Indias, Columbia.  Community members wishing to comment on the document have until 12:00 PM UTC on December 10th.
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ICANN Board Votes ‘YES’ on Cross-Ownership

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The minutes from last week’s Special Meeting of the ICANN Board of Directors were made public this afternoon (Nov. 10, 2010 JST). Along with the minutes came a rather stunning announcement: “ICANN Board Votes to Enhance New gTLDs Competition.

This announcement comes after two years of debate on the subject during which time expert advice was sought out and the GNSO was pushed come up with a workable solution to avoid the board from implementing its default decision, which was reached in Nairobi and then slightly adjusted the decision in version four of the Draft Applicant Guidebook in May. For all intents and purposes, ICANN had all but closed the book on this issue.
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New gTLD Application Round Set to Begin in Mid 2011

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The Special Meeting of the ICANN Board of Directors which took place Thursday, October 28th (10/29/2010 JST) has produced a result many new gTLD applicants have been waiting for: A timeline.

The ICANN board passed a resolution which aims at starting the New gTLD Application round on May 30th, 2011. According to the resolution, the issues of Vertical Integration, Recommendation 6 Objection Process, and Geographic names have yet to be resolved.
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IDN ccTLD Fast Track: New Strings in Line for Delegation

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big-world-map-blog

We last provided an update on the IDN ccTLD Fast Track back in August. Since then, India, Iran, and Korea have passed the string evaluation phase and are lined up to be delegated by the end of this year.

India is applying “.bharat” in Hindi, Urdu, Telugu, Gujarati, Punjabi, Tamil, and Bengali. Iran applied for “.iran” in Persian (Arabic Script), and Korea has applied for “.korea” in Korean (Hangul Script).
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Progress Made Toward New gTLD Applications

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The minutes from the highly anticipated ICANN Board Retreat, which took place in Trondheim, Norway on the 24th and 25th of September, were released today. The meeting focused primarily on remaining key New gTLD issues. According to the official ICANN announcement, ICANN Chairman of the board, Peter Dengate Thrush, stated that progress had been made and additional papers as well as a modified applicant guidebook had been requested for public review. These documents are scheduled to be released prior to the 39th ICANN International public meeting in Cartagena, Columbia this December.
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SO Registry Announces Launch Date for .SO

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The Registry operator for the ccTLD (Country Code Top Level Domain) for the Republic of Somalia, .so (dot SO) has announced a launch date to begin registrations. According to the SO Registry, the ccTLD was re-delegated to the Ministry of Post and Telecommunications this past April by ICANN. We first caught a glimpse of the SO Registry at the ICANN International meeting which was held in Brussels, Belgium this past June when the registry sponsored the event.

The SO Registry announced, rather quietly, that it will begin registrations in the name space on November 1st 2010. The launch model will follow the standard protocol; commencing with a “Sunrise” period — a trademark claims period in which trademark holders can claim first rights to their trademarked names. Applications during this 30 day period with multiple legitimate contenders will go to auction.
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ICANN Publishes Draft Agreement for .XXX

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xxx-blog

ICANN posted a revision of its Proposed Registry Agreement with ICM Registry on its website today for the public to evaluate. ICM Registry, the applicant behind the .xxx top level domain, has been working towards obtaining the TLD since it first applied in 2004 in answer to ICANN’s call for Sponsored New gTLD proposals. The ICANN board rejected previous versions of the Proposed Registry Agreement, but after and independent review panel declared the rejection of the previous proposals as flawed, ICANN began to move forward in negotiating with ICM Registry.
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IDN ccTLD Fast Track Update – August 2010

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The IDN (Internationalized Domain Name) ccTLD Fast Track Program was approved October 2009 in order to allow the inclusion of characters other than the traditional ASCII characters used in Country Code Top-Level Domains (ccTLDs). The implementation of IDN top-level domains has been in the works for several years, seven in the ICANN community alone. ICANN, the organization which oversees the Internet’s name space calls the implementation of IDN TLDs the biggest change to the underlying structure on the Internet since its inception.
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World Domain Cup Winner Announced!

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Interlink Co. Ltd Announces Winner in World Domain Cup

Japanese Internet Service Provider, Interlink Co. Ltd., published the final results of the World Domain Cup (WDC) today.

The World Domain Cup, the only contest of its kind, officially kicked off in June 2009 and throughout the course of the contest over 11,000 entries with nearly 4,000 unique strings were submitted by Internet users from all over the world including Japan, USA, UK, Germany, France, China and South Korea.

The strings submitted by the users were eventually narrowed down to the final 15 by a group of panelists. Once the final cut was made, open voting began and over 7,500 unique votes were received throughout the period.

Internet users around the world were overwhelmingly in favor of .earth, which accounted for around 44% of votes. The runners up were .inc and .free.

The final results are published on the official World Domain Cup site. A copy of the official press release (pdf) is available here in Japanese.


New Internet Extensions. But How Soon?

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yes-to-xxx-thumb

ICANN’s 38th International Public Meeting held in Brussels, Belgium during the week of June 20th thru 25th was full of a lot of the same; a lot of New gTLD talk related to trademarks and timelines, and the usual WHOIS accuracy meeting. But still, the looming question on everyone’s mind; “When are we going to see New gTLDs?” was not clearly answered.

Well, one new gTLD, or so it would seem, is ready to hit the main stream fairly soon. The ICANN Board of Directors approved .xxx at it’s board meeting on Friday, June 25th 2010. The Board accepted the the findings of the Independent Review Panel and reconsidered the application for .xxx. A review will be done to ensure that no significant changes have taken place and begin contract negotiations. Finally, ICANN will involve the Government Advisory Committee (GAC) to make sure the contract for the new adult TLD is inline with the comment received from the committee.
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ICANN 38 – Opening Day

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After missing the Nairobi meeting due to ICANNs assessment of possible security issues, we were very eager to kick things off with the Welcome Ceremony Monday here in Brussels, Belgium. Unfortunately, we weren’t greeted with the same exciting cultural performances we were able to catch only brief glimpses of during our remote participation and live blogging during the Nairobi meeting.
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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.
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DAGv4 – First Glance

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The New gTLD Applicant Guidebook, Version 4.0 was released to the public today. Upon first glance, it appears to contain quite a bit of additional material to help guide perspective New gTLD applicants through the application process.

As I was skimming the text I came to a dead halt at section 1.2.1 on eligibility (also see the Draft New gTLD Agreement page 5: Use of Registrars) when I realized that what we had expected had arrived. The section of interest reads as follows:

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First IDN ccTLDs Go Live

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Just a few short weeks after ICANN approved the first IDN top-level domain name delegations at its Meeting of the Board on April 22nd, the first strings, Egypt, UAE, and Saudi Arabia have been entered into the DNS root zone. The three strings were added to the root today (May 5th PST / May 6th JST), making the IDN strings officially operational.

The strings entered into the DNS root zone are:

Country IDN String Latin Script Equivolent
Egypt مصر. .misr
United Arab Emirates امارات. .emarat
Saudi Arabia السعودية. .al-saudia

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IDN ccTLD Fast Track is Rolling

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Exciting buzz among IDN advocates and watchers was created this week when ICANN CEO Rod Beckstrom Tweeted the following from the special ICANN Meeting of the Board on April 22nd (PST): “ICANN board approves Internet top level int’l domain name (IDN) delegations for Russia, Egypt, UAE & Saudi Arabia.”

Since ccTLD IDNs were approved at the ICANN Board meeting in Seoul, South Korea in October of last year, government agencies interested in securing their own Internationalized Top-Level domain have been adding their requests. You can see a list of all prior requests in a previous blog entry. ICANN only makes public strings which have passed String Evaluation. The full list of all strings made public by ICANN can be found here:
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Domain Registry Providers: Finding a Perfect Fit

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Many prospective New gTLD applicants have, or are currently in the process of building up or outsourcing out a registry system in preparation for application launch planned to happen sometime within the next year or two.

Although there is a lot to be covered on registry systems, I’ve chosen to focus on the critical business decisions that need to be made when outsourcing your new gTLD to a third-party vendor. Questions that are not covered in this article are; “Who’s out there, What solutions are they offering, and what are their prices”? Answers to these questions can be found on names@work in an article titled, ”Speed-dating the new gTLD registry providers – Intro

Here are some questions that we have been asking ourselves when choosing our Registry system provider, and think that these are questions that you may want to ask before choosing yours.

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New gTLD Strings

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Planning for the new top-level domain? Looking for a string that’s going to make you rich beyond the dreams of avarice? …

Well, here is a list of 310 TLD strings, some old, some new, compiled from various sources on the Internet that you may want to keep in mind. It is likely that several of these gTLD strings will end up in contention, public disapproval, or violation of the string requirements.

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IDN ccTLD Update – March 2010

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Earlier this year, ICANN announced the first four strings which had passed the String Evaluation phase — Egypt, UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Russia (Russian Federation). Now, as of March 24th, a total of eight (8) strings have passed string evaluation and are awaiting approval for delegation. The strings that are awaiting a decision on delegation are listed below.

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New gTLD Next Steps

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As we look ahead to the next ICANN International Public Meeting this June in Brussels, we thought it would be a good opportunity to take a look at some of the topics that are on the the table for public comment.

The public comment process is a crucial element in ICANN’s overall goal for transparency. Through public comment the internet community can raise issues or give consent to policies before they are decided on by the ICANN board. We encourage all perspective New gTLD applicants to let their voices be heard on these key issues.

A full list of items up for public comment can be found here. Current issues related to the New gTLD Program are which are open for public comment are listed below.
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ICANN Board Finalizes Decisions in Nairobi

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The 37th ICANN Meeting held in Nairobi, Kenya concluded in usual fashion today with the meeting of the ICANN Board. Today’s meeting of the Board was of exceptional importance to both the ICANN Board and the ICANN community. The Board met in total transparency as the community waited to see how the Board would be accountable for issues related to not executing the .xxx contract. Likewise, perspective New gTLD applicants anxiously awaited the Board’s decision on the EOI/Pre-Registration Process.

In total, the Board voted on eight (8) resolutions related to the implementation of New gTLDs. This could be an indication that the ball is rolling again, and perhaps ICANN is reaching consensus on a lot of key issues relating to the launch of New gTLDs.

Here is a breakdown of the chief issues discussed and the decisions that were made at Friday’s board meeting:
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ICANN Nairobi Update

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Our team has remotely participated in the following meetings over the last couple of days at the ICANN Nairobi meeting:

  • Introduction to New gTLDs (current status of the program)
  • Registrar Stakeholder Group Meeting
  • ccNSO Members Meeting
  • DNSSEC Workshop
  • GNSO Vertical Integration Working Group Meeting
  • Zone File Access (“ZFA”) Advisory Group Meeting
  • Registration Abuse Policies Initial Report Information Session
  • Update on SSR Efforts

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Issues Concerning DNSSEC

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The Progress of DNSSEC (March 8th)

The ccNSO Tech Day, held on March 8th, 2010 between 10:00 and 17:30 EAT, was focused mainly on DNS and issues related to maintaining the security and stability of the Internet. I thought all of the presentations were very well done, and enjoyed the presentation on the Mariposa Botnet take down and surviving the 8.8 Richter Chilean Earthquake of 27 Feb. Although their talks focused on DNS specifically, I really wanted to focus on the portion of the presentations pertaining to DNSSEC.

DNSSEC is an extension to DNS that adds a signature to its information that allows users to validate its authenticity against. This means that if data is temperated with, that the validation of the data will fail. DNSSEC is seen as a solution to DNS attacks such as, cache poisoning and other types of DNS forgery. Further details about DNSSEC can be found on Wikipedia

Where Are We With DNSSEC

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Trademark Protection in New gTLDs (March 8th)

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Trademark Protection in New gTLDs (March 8th)

16:00 – 17:00 EAT

During the ICANN meeting held in Mexico City a year ago, severalissues regarding trademark protection in New gTLDs surfaced, and the Intellectual Property community pushed for solutions. ICANN responded swiftly by creating the IRT (Implementation Recommendation Team). Several studies were done and many pages of reports were written on how to best handle the various trademark issues. The GNSO created the Special Trademarks Issues review team (STI), in October 2009, and since that time the STI reached a consensus on recommendations for Trademark Protection Mechanisms which were unanimously approved by the GNSO in December 2009.

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New gTLD Update and EOI/Pre-Registration Model Panel Discussion (March 8th)

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New gTLD Update

The New gTLD Update and EOI Panel Discussion session, which took place on Monday, March 8th (11:00 – 13:00 EAT), was a key session for prospective applicants to attend. Although there are still several issues that need to be resolved before either an EOI/Pre-Registration process or an actual first round of applications can take place, ICANN seems more confident that a consensus is being reached.

The main event of this session, however, was the panel discussion regarding the EOI/Pre-Registration Model.

Several of the other topics discussed in this session were mentioned yesterday in our report on the GAC and GAC/GNSO meeting, therefore we will only briefly review some of the key points.

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ICANN Nairobi Welcome Ceremony (March 8th)

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Our team participated remotely in the ICANN Welcome Ceremony and Presidents Report. (Monday, March 8th from 9:00 – 10:30 EAT)

The welcome ceremony was packed with energy as ICANN delegates filled the conference hall. According to many in attendance (via -twitter) and ICANN officials, despite the security issues and concerns of the community, the turnout was excellent.
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ICANN Nairobi Meetings (March 7th)

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Our team participated remotely in the GAC New gTLD Update meeting that took place on Sunday, March 7th from 14:00 – 17:00 EAT and the GAC Meeting with GNSO, 17:00 – 18:00 EAT.

Several key issues surrounding the launch of the new gTLD program were touched upon and we can expect to hear quite a bit more throughout the the next week. The four overarching issues are Trademark Protection, Malicious Conduct, Root Zone Scalability, and Economic Demand.
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ICANN Nairobi Coverage

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The ICANN International Public Conference being held in Nairobi is just a few days away. UrbanBrain will participate in meetings beginning on Sunday and will follow all the important topics being discussed throughout the duration of the meeting (March 7-12). Stay tuned to our blog for the most important New gTLD update and other ICANN happenings as they occur.
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WDC New gTLD String Results

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gTLD String Stats

Interlink K.K. has been kind enough to share the top 100 World Domain Cup results taken this month. These New gTLD strings are what people, worldwide, have chosen as their favoriate TLD for the contest. Some of these results probably come as no surprise, but there are a couple of strings that may raise question marks over your head.
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Nairobi Meeting Security & Logistics Teleconference

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Participants:

Nick Tomasso: ICANN General Manager Meetings and Conferences
Geoff Bickers: ICANN Director of Security
Joe Kiragu: Board Chairperson for Kenya Network Information Center (KENIC)
Nick Ashton-Hart: Remote Participation Logistics

Brief Summary:

ICANN will post two help desks at the Jomo Kenyatta InternationalAirport to assist attendees with any visa issues and safely direct attendees to their hotels. Extra security and police will be patrolling the airport and the conference center area. All attendees will be screened before being allowed entrance into the conference center to ensure the safety of all those in attendance.

ICANN’s security and logistics team does not foresee any major concerns for safety.

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First IDN ccTLDs Pass String Evaluation

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On January 21st, 2010 ICANN announced the successful completion of the IDN ccTLD Fast Track String Evaluation for the 4 new proposed IDN ccTLDs[]. The details of the successful evaluations are provided on ICANN’s website.

This news comes just 2 months after ICANN received its first requests, and 3 months after ICANN approved the ccTLD Fast Track Process at the Seoul Meeting in October of 2009.

There has been no official word when these 4 countries and/or territories will initiate String Delegation. To date, ICANN has received a total of 16 requests for IDN ccTLD in 8 languages.

The original press release can be found here.

[] Egypt (مصر), Russian Federation (рф), United Arab Emirates (امارات), and Saudi Arabia (السعودية).

IDN ccTLDs to Launch in 2010

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On December 21, 2009, Hong Kong Internet Registration Corporation Ltd HKIRC announced that ‘.香港’ (Hong Kong) registrations will be offered free to all ‘.hk’ customers in the second half of 2010. Their aim is to increase the popularity of Chinese domain names and to increase benefits to the Internet community. (Press Release)

This is a very exciting movement, since ‘.香港’ (Hong Kong) along with ‘مصر.’ (Egypt), ‘امارات.’ (UAE), ‘.РФ’ (Russia), and ‘السعودية.’ (Saudi Arabia) will be the first IDN ccTLDs to be accepted by ICANN through the IDN ccTLD Fast Track Program[]. The only question remaining is, who will be the first to open their doors to public registration.

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