ICANN approved the New gTLD Program on June 20, 2011 and set the application window for January 12,, 2012 through April 12, 2012.
Applicants must pay $185,000 fee and meet:
– Background Screening for Criminal/Domain Abuse History of Principals
– Technical requirements to operate a their TLD in a secure and stable manner
– Financial requirements to operate the TLD , amount dependent upon sales projections
– Business and Marketing Plan for operations/purpose/use of your TLD
– Proposed benefits and support for the TLD for the global internet public interest
The gTLD Application process
The application process for new TLDs will be web based and will use a system called TAS – TLD Application System.
The process begins with the application submission period and must pass an administrative completeness check to ensure that all required or otherwise necessary information has been included in the application. All applications must be received within a given timeframe to be eligible for consideration and are subject to an evaluation fee.
It then goes through an initial evaluation. This will include background screening on the entities applying and the individuals named in the application. This process is expected to take around five months, depending on the volume of applications received. Following the initial evaluation it may have to go through extended evaluation, dispute resolution or string contention prior to transition to delegation. There is also a public comment period, “the time applications are publicly posted on ICANN’s website, which will remain open for 45 calendar days. This period will allow time for the community to review and submit comments on posted application materials[.]” 1
It is important to note that only established corporations, organizations or individuals “in good standing” may apply for a new TLD and that third parties will be able to file objections to TLD applications. There will be a special period during which objections can be filed. The purpose of this is to ensure the continued integrity and good quality of the internet.
ICANN will be conducting background screenings of applications, focusing on “(1) General business diligence and criminal history; and (2) History of cybersquatting behavior.” Simply put, if you have a criminal record, you’re application will be rendered ineligible. Applications must submit proof of legal establishment and financial statements to be eligible. Some applications will require supplemental documentation: community endorsement, government support or non-objection and/or documentation of third-party funding commitments. Applicants are also “required to designate whether their application is community-based.”