The Internet Corp for Assigned Names and Numbers has opened its doors for proposals from organizations that want to run top-level Internet domains. The organization issued a request for proposals earlier this week.
ICANN is currently only accepting applications to run sponsored TLDs, domains that relate to specific vertical content and have restricted registrant bases. Existing sTLDs include: .museum, .aero and .coop, for museums, aerospace and cooperatives.
The RFP expires March 15, ICANN said. Applicants have to fork over a $45,000 application fee by March 10. There will be a period of public comment between March 19 and 30. The decision to approve TLDs will be made by the ICANN board.
To have a chance of success, the proposed domains must categorize a broad and lasting field of human, institutional, or social endeavor or activity that has importance across multiple geographic regions and has lasting value.
Applicants must also show that the domain they want is sufficiently different from the existing domain in terms of what content it represents and in terms of the string itself. At the same time, it should also increase competition in the registry space.
Arguably the most important selection criterion, however, is having the appropriate backing from a sponsoring organization that adequately (and preferably internationally) represents the class of registrant the domain hopes to represent.
In the existing sTLDs, .aero is backed by Societe Internationale de Telecommunications Aeronautiques (SITA), .museum is backed by the International Council of Museums, and .coop is backed by the International Cooperative Association.
Applicants will have to agree to abide by ICANN policies including the Uniform Dispute Resolution Policy, which deals with cyber squatting claims, and will have to show they can protect intellectual property rights.
Applicants would do well to investigate problems encountered by the first wave of ICANN-approved TLDs. For example, some TLD operators have found many web sites have email address validation scripts that reject domains of over four characters.
This article is based on material originally produced by ComputerWire.