ICANN began accepting applications for the new generic top-level domains (gtLDs) today. Applicants are directed to use the TLD Application System (TAS) to submit their application.
With the TAS, applicants will have to answer 50 questions, as detailed in the Applicant Guidebook. ICANN posted some important info for applicants today, regarding updates to the guidebook and financial assistance for qualifying applicants:
An updated version of the Applicant Guidebook was posted with the opening of the application window. The updated version incorporates clarifications made through responses previously published by the gTLD customer service center. Main points of clarification are on topics such as batching, background screening, the applicant support program, Continued Operations Instrument, GAC advice processes, and the registry code of conduct. Additional information and answers to previously asked questions can be found in the Program's Supplemental Notes. These materials are not intended to introduce new requirements or criteria. Links to both the Applicant Guidebook and the Supplemental Notes can be found at the ICANN New gTLD page.
Also available now are changes to the Applicant Support Program: limited financial assistance is offered to qualifying applicants. Through this program, applicants, especially from developing economies, have access to financial assistance in the form of an evaluation fee reduction and other in-kind or community pro bono services. The financial assistance element of the program will allow a limited number of qualifying applicants to pay a US $47,000 evaluation fee instead of the full USD $185,000. This fee reduction has been made possible because ICANN's Board of Directors has dedicated USD $2,000,000 to the program. This is a seed fund to which other organizations can donate. In response to public comment, the draft program has been updated to increase availability of refunds, make the program available to certain trademark owners, and broaden the scope for those seeking to serve the public interest.
The necessary links can be found at ICANN's New gTLD page.
The last day to register with the TAS is March 29. April 12 will be the final day ICANN will accept applications.