Contracting Deadlines and Extensions: Detailed Information Available Now
Contract Execution Deadlines and Extensions
Registry Operator Code of Conduct
Application Eligibility Reinstatement
News & Views
Announcement: 04 August 2017 – 2017 Base New gTLD Registry Agreement Now Effective
Contracting is a process by which eligible applicants enter into a Registry Agreement (“RA”) with ICANN to operate the applied-for TLD. This process commences once the applicant successfully meets all of the following New gTLD Program requirements:
- Pass application evaluation
- Resolve contention
- Completes objection dispute resolution
- Clear GAC advice
- Completes change requests
Once an applicant is eligible to commence the contracting process, ICANN will notify the applicant’s primary contact via the Naming Services portal. Notifications are sent by prioritization number. Included with the notification is a CIR Form that requests for certain information needed for drafting of the RA. It is important that applicants complete and submit the CIR Form promptly upon notification to avoid missing the 9-month deadline to execute a Registry Agreement. As per Section 5.1 of the Applicant Guidebook, “Eligible applicants are expected to have executed the registry agreement within nine (9) months of the notification date. Failure to do so may result in loss of eligibility, at ICANN’s discretion.” The Applicant Guidebook also provides for applicants to request an extension to the 9-month window to execute the Registry Agreement if the applicant “can demonstrate, to ICANNs reasonable satisfaction, that it is working diligently and in good faith toward successfully completing the steps necessary for entry into the registry agreement.” To request for an extension, the contracting point of contact should complete and submits the Request for Extension to Execute Registry Agreement Form [DOCX, 565 KB].
To help applicants prepare for completion and submission of the CIR Form, ICANN has provided the following information:
Contracting will be completed once the RA is executed and the applicant will proceed to the next phase of Transition to Delegation known as Pre-Delegation Testing. Below is an overview of the contracting process. The graphic depicts a best-case scenario where there are no issues with the application. The cycle time is subject to change if volume of CIR response exceeds 40 per week. Please note that the below cycle time does not apply to applications that have been granted an extension to execute the Registry Agreement. For those applications that have been granted an extension to execute the Registry Agreement, ICANN will abide by the timelines provided in the extension notifications.
Contracting Deadlines and Extensions
On 3 September 2014, ICANN published a “Requests for Extension to Execute New gTLD Registry Agreements” announcement. This announcement re-emphasizes that eligible applicants are expected to execute the Registry Agreement within nine (9) months of the notification date. Applicants must submit extension requests at least 45 days prior to the original deadline date to be eligible for an extension. If an extension request is not submitted by the deadline, the applicant will not be granted an extension and will be expected to execute the Registry Agreement by the original deadline.
Scenario 1: No responses to the CIR received 3 weeks prior to the Registry Agreement execution deadline, and no extensions have been granted.
If no extensions have been granted and the applicant does not submit a response to the CIR 3 weeks prior to the Registry Agreement execution deadline, it must execute the Registry Agreement by the Registry Agreement execution deadline. To provide applicants under this scenario the ability to execute the Registry Agreement by the deadline date, ICANN will send eligible applicants the base Registry Agreement 2 weeks prior to the deadline date to execute the Registry Agreement.
Scenario 2: The applicant requests an extension to execute the Registry Agreement.
Applicants should demonstrate, to ICANN’s reasonable satisfaction, that it is working diligently and in good faith toward successfully completing the steps necessary for entry into the registry agreement. Applicants provided with any extension shall meet interim milestone deadlines based on the activities that need to be completed. All applicants who have been granted an extension must execute the Registry Agreement by the extended deadline, or risk losing eligibility to execute the Registry Agreement with ICANN. In addition, applicants that fail to meet interim milestone deadlines will be at risk of losing eligibility to execute the Registry Agreement with ICANN. If an applicant loses eligibility to execute the Registry Agreement with ICANN, the status of its application will be changed to “Will Not Proceed.”
The Registry Agreement is the formal written and binding agreement between the applicant and ICANN that sets forth the rights, duties, liabilities and obligations of the applicant as a Registry Operator. Applicants may elect to negotiate the terms of the RA by exception, but this course of action will take substantially longer to complete the Contracting process.
On 26 March 2014, by the New gTLD Program Committee (“NGPC”) of the ICANN Board passed a resolution approving a Registry Agreement Specification 13 for Brand category of applicants. One provision of Specification 13 gives a .BRAND registry operator the ability to designate up to three ICANN accredited registrars to serve as the exclusive registrars for their TLD. When the NGPC approved Specification 13 on 26 March 2014, implementation of this provision was delayed for 45 days in respect of the GNSO policy Recommendation 19 on the Introduction of New Generic Top-Level Domains. After considering the matter, the GNSO Council informed ICANN in correspondence dated 9 May 2014 [PDF, 366 KB] that although it found that the proposed provision was inconsistent with Recommendation 19, given the unique and specific circumstances, the GNSO Council accepted the variation from the original policy, did not object to the adoption of Specification 13 in its entirety, and so indicated in the form of a motion vote on and passed at the GNSO Council meeting of 8 May 2014. Specification 13 was not finalized until May 9, 2014. Subsequently, as a result of the 2017 Global Amendment, the current form of Specification 13 is effective 31 July 2017.
Specification 13 provides certain modifications to the RA for those applicants that qualify as a .Brand TLD. These requirements include:
- The TLD string is identical to the textual elements protectable under applicable law, of a registered trademark valid under applicable law;
- Only Registry Operator, its Affiliates or Trademark Licensees are registrants of domain names in the TLD and control the DNS records associated with domain names at any level in the TLD;
- The TLD is not a Generic String TLD (as defined in Specification 11);
- Registry Operator has provided ICANN with an accurate and complete copy of such trademark registration.
Registry operators that want to qualify as a .Brand TLD and receive a Specification 13 to the RA may submit an application for Specification 13 to ICANN. ICANN posts all applications for Specification 13 for comment for 30 days. All input received will be taken into consideration. If a Specification 13 is granted, it will include an exemption to the Registry Operator Code of Conduct.
Registry Operator Code of Conduct
The Registry Operator Code of Conduct is a set of guidelines for registry operators relating to certain and limited operations of the registry. All registry operators are subjected to the Code of Conduct unless an exemption is granted to the registry operator by ICANN. In order to qualify for an exemption to the Code of Conduct, the TLD must not be a “generic string” (as defined in Section 3(d) of Specification 11) and the following criteria must be satisfied:
- All domain name registrations in the TLD are registered to, and maintained by, Registry Operator for the exclusive use of Registry Operator or its affiliates;
- Registry Operator does not sell, distribute or transfer control or use of any registrations in the TLD to any third party that is not an affiliate of Registry Operator; and
- Application of the Code of Conduct to the TLD is not necessary to protect the public interest.
Registry operators that want to be exempted from the Code of Conduct may submit a request for exemption to the Code of Conduct to ICANN. ICANN posts all requests for exemption to the Code of Conduct for comment for 30 days. All input received will be taken into consideration.
A clause providing an exemption to the Code of Conduct is included in the provisions of Specification. Thus, any registry operator applying for a Specification 13 to the RA need not separately apply for an exemption to the Code of Conduct.
Application Eligibility Reinstatement
Application Eligibility Reinstatement is a process that allows applicants with applications in a “Will Not Proceed” status because a contracting related deadline was missed to request reinstatement of the application’s eligibility status. If eligibility reinstatement is granted, the applicant may proceed to signing the Registry Agreement with ICANN provided the application meets all Program requirements.
ICANN will notify applicants that are qualified to request reinstatement of eligibility status of their applications via the Naming Services portal (referenced as Application Eligibility Notification). Generally, ICANN will notify the applicant within one week of the application status being changed to “Will Not Proceed.” Upon notification, applicants may request reinstatement of their applications’ eligibility by submitting the Application Eligibility Reinstatement Request form. Requests must be submitted by the deadline communicated to the applicant in the Application Eligibility Notification to be considered.
To ensure applicants are committed to signing the Registry Agreement and to delegate the TLD within 12 months of the Effective Date of the Registry Agreement, applicants will be required to provide:
- All pending information required for the execution of the Registry Agreement. This could include:
- Compliant Continuing Operations Instrument
- Complete Contracting Information Request form or updated information for the Contracting Information Request
- Application change request
- Complete Specification 13 application
- Complete Request to Registry Operator Code of Conduct Exemption
- All required information for Post-Contracting activities:
- Pre-Delegation Testing information
- A fully executed Data Escrow agreement
- Registry contact and Registry public contact information
- Registry Onboarding Information Request information
- Notification of intent for Registry assignment or material sub-contractor changes
Deadline and Timeline
In addition to the above required information, applicants will need to commit to signing the Registry Agreement and completing post-contracting activities by certain deadline dates:
- Registry Agreement signing – If applicant has a Registry Agreement signing deadline date that is in the future, applicant will be required to sign the Registry Agreement by that date. If applicant has an Registry Agreement signing deadline date that has passed, applicant will be required to sign the Registry Agreement 30 days from the date ICANN notifies applicant of the new Registry Agreement signing deadline date.
- Onboarding – Applicant will be required to complete Onboarding 45 days from the Effective Date of the Registry Agreement. Applicant will receive a notification after Registry Agreement execution to enter the provided information into the Naming Services portal.
- Pre-Delegation Testing – Applicant will be required to start Pre-Delegation Testing 45 days from the Effective Date of the Registry Agreement. Applicant will receive a notification after Registry Agreement execution to schedule Pre-Delegation Testing appointment.
All required information and documents must be submitted with the request so that ICANN may review the request in its entirety to make a determination. ICANN will review requests based on the unique circumstances of each application and notify applicants of its determination via the Naming Services portal.
- View Application Eligibility Reinstatement Process and Request Form [DOCX, 536 KB]
The following contracting statistics are updated on a quarterly basis:
For the Quarter Ending: 31 December 2019
Number of Applications Invited to Contracting: 3
Number of Responses to Contracting Invite Received: 3
Number of Registry Agreements Sent to Applicants: 3
Number of Registry Agreements Executed: 3
Number of Requests for Exemption to the Code of Conduct Posted for 30-day Comment: 0
Number of Code of Conduct Exemptions Granted: 0
Number of Applications for Specification 13 Posted for 30-day Comment: 0
Number of Specification 13 Granted: 3
- Base Registry Agreement [PDF, 925 KB] (Updated 31 July 2017)
- Specification 13 [PDF, 292 KB] (Updated 31 July 2017)
- Contracting Information Request Guidance (Updated 15 July 2014) [PDF, 2.02 MB]
- Naming Services portal User’s Guide [PDF, 730 KB]
- Sample Irrevocable Standby Letter of Credit [DOCX, 169 KB]
- Template for Requesting Changes to the base Registry Agreement [DOCX, 24 KB]
- Sample Affirmation Letter to Designate a New Signatory [DOCX, 31 KB]
- Specification 13 Process and Application Form [PDF, 472 KB]
- COC Exemption Process & Form [PDF, 146 KB]
- Request for Extension to Execute Registry Agreement Form [DOCX, 565 KB]
Frequently Asked Questions
Below find archival materials documenting milestones in the development of the Contracting process, listed in reverse chronological order.
29 July 2014 – CORRECTION: ICANN Updates Specification 13 Process and Application Form
15 July 2014 – ICANN Updates Specification 13 Process and Application Form
14 April 2014 – ICANN Publishes Process to Qualify for Specification 13 to the New gTLD Registry Agreement
18 March 2014 – ICANN Seeks Comments on Requests for Exemption to the Registry Operator Code of Conduct
9 May 2014 – GNSO Provided Input on Specification 13 at New gTLD Program Committee’s (“NGPC”) Request
On 26 March, the NGPC approved Specification 13 to the New gTLD Registry, along with an additional clause that would allow .Brand registry operators to designate up to three ICANN accredited registrars to serve as the exclusive registrars for their TLD. The NGPC asked the GNSO to comment on whether this clause is in line with GNSO policy recommendations. On 9 May, the GNSO provided its comment in a letter to Cherine Chalaby, the Chair of the NGPC:
15 July 2013 – Contracting Session at ICANN 47 Durban
Krista Papac, ICANN’s gTLD Registry Services Director, leads a session focused on helping New gTLD applicants understand and prepare for the Contracting process.
15 July 2013 – First Registry Agreements
On the opening day of ICANN 47 Durban, ICANN signs the first four Registry Agreements with new gTLD applicants.
14 July 2013 – Supplement to the Registry Agreement
Required of applicants facing outstanding items, such as Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC) Advice, Rights Protection Mechanisms requirements, and Post-Delegation Dispute Resolution Proceedings, that wish to sign the Registry Agreement ahead of resolving those issues.
21 June 2013 – Contracting Information Request Guidance
ICANN publishes materials to help applicants to prepare for contracting.
13 June 2013 – New gTLD Contracting Webinar
ICANN hosts a webinar to help new gTLD applicants understand the Contracting process and learn what information they must provide prior to executing a Registry Agreement.
29 April 2013 – Registry Agreement is Now Available for Public Comment
ICANN is seeking public comment on the Proposed Final Registry Agreement published on 29 April 2013.
1 April 2013 – Revised Registry Agreement Posted for Review
ICANN provides the latest version of the “Revised new gTLD Registry Agreement” for the community’s information and review.
26 March 2013 – New gTLD Update Webinar
ICANN staff hosts a webinar session providing information about the Contracting process, among other program updates.
5 February 2013 – New gTLD Applicant Webinar
ICANN staff hosts a webinar session providing details about the Public Interest Commitments (PIC) Specification, among other program updates.
5 February 2013 – Public Comment: Revised New gTLD Registry Agreement & PIC Spec
ICANN solicits feedback on a revised version of the New gTLD Registry Agreement that includes information on the Public Interest Commitments (PIC) Specification.
5 September 2013 – Customer Portal User Guide
ICANN publishes a User Guide to help applicants complete Transition to Delegation processes. Applicants must conduct Contracting through the Customer Portal.
27 August 2013 – Potential Name Space Collision Report
ICANN explains how the Name Space Collision Report will affect the Contracting process. New gTLD applications are to be handled according to the potential for risk.
Contracting Process Statistics
|CUMULATIVE TOTALS —>||1930||1147||606||544||468|
|Week Ending (2014)||Sent Through Priority Number||Contracting Eligibility Notifications Sent||CIR Invitations Sent||CIR Responses Received||Contracts Sent Out For Signature||Registry Agreements Executed|
|Week Ending (2013)||Sent Through Priority Number||Contracting Eligibility Notifications Sent||CIR Invitations Sent||CIR Responses Received||Contracts Sent Out For Signature||Registry Agreements Executed|
Continuing Operations Instrument (Letter of Credit) Outreach
|Week Ending (2013)||Priority Numbers Addressed|
|11 Oct||1701 – 1930 (Completed)|
|04 Oct||1501 – 1700|
|27 Sep||1401 – 1500|
|20 Sep||1251 – 1400|
|13 Sep||1101 – 1250|
|06 Sep||951 – 1100|
|30 Aug||801 – 950|
|23 Aug||701 – 800|
|16 Aug||501 – 700|
|09 Aug||201 – 500|
|02 Aug||109 – 200|
|26 Jul||51 – 108|
|19 Jul||Not applicable|
|12 Jul||Not applicable|
|05 Jul||1 – 50|