The three month application window for applying for a generic
top Level Domain (gTLD) opened on 12 January 2012.
The new gTLD program allows organisations to introduce new gTLDs
into the domain name space that do not use the existing extensions
such as .com or .au. Organisations with strong brands are expected
to apply for gTLDs that reflect their brand (e.g. .nokia). Other
organisations may procure generic gTLDs (e.g. .music or .car) in
the hope of profiting by selling sub domains.
Before an applicant can submit an application, it must register
its interest by 29 March 2012. This involves a process of
completing an applicant profile, a legal review of the applicant
(such as the applicant's legal status, identification of
its directors, officers, partners, and identification of its major
shareholders), and submitting an initial deposit of US$5,000. The
window for lodging an application itself closes on 12 April 2012.
Applications are made on-line via the TLD Application System,
accessible from the ICANN website.
The application must be accompanied by a further US$180,000
evaluation fee and involves providing information about the
applicant's technical and financial ability to operate a
gTLD registry in a secure and stable manner, business and marketing
plans, and criminal or domain abuse history of principals (if
As the application process is complex and time consuming those
interested in obtaining top level domain will need to take swift
action. Once the application window is closed it may be 2 to 3
years before any new applications are accepted. It is expected that
the first new gTLDs will go live on the internet in 2013.
After the window closes ICANN will publish a list of applicants
and open a 60 day public comment period. There will also be an
opportunity to make formal objections to specific applications, for
example if the applicant's use of the gTLD would breach
legal rights such as trade mark rights.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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