How to get a new TLD approved by ICANN


Andy Oram
April 23, 2004

As a public service, I explain here how to get a new top-level domain approved by ICANN.

Top-level domains—such as .COM and .ORG—remain a hot topic. Millions of dollars rest on who can get a new one. And a lot of people are wondering when this odd part of the Internet (the only part artificially constrained from growth) will start to catch up with the rest.

Eyes are now on the organization responsible for granting new top-level domains, ICANN. The last time it granted new ones, back in February 2003, it required a non-refundable $50,000 just to submit a request. Forty-seven organizations ponied up their money; just seven lucky ones got what they asked for. And nobody outside ICANN could figure out why certain domains—including such unlikely candidates as .AERO and .COOP—entered into company of the elect while others did not.

Later, ICANN released a report concerning an "evaluation process" and a purported plan for "the possibility of moving forward some sort of limited new TLD program"—both notable for their timidity and lack of any sense of urgency.

Well, ICANN is in the middle of the process once again, this time for just three new TLDs. Who will be the lucky one on this go-round? How can you up your chances if you’re throwing your hat in the ring?

The answer is now available. View the diagram at the link that follows.

How to get a new TLD approved by ICANN

Andy Oram,, is an editor at O’Reilly Media. This article represents his views only.

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