ICANN Approves Rollout of New gTLDs

SINGAPORE—As anticipated, ICANN's Board of Directors has approved the rollout of new generic top-level domains at the meeting in Singapore. The vote, which occured Monday during a special meeting of the board, was 13-1 with two board members abstaining. The decision culminates a years-long process by the California-based non-profit to open up the domain name space to an untold number of gTLDs that are expected to come in all shapes, sizes and purposes.

"The decision to proceed with the gTLD program follows many years of discussion, debate and deliberation with the Internet community, business groups and governments," said ICANN, in a prepared statement. "The Applicant Guidebook, a rulebook explaining how to apply for a new gTLD, went through seven significant revisions to incorporate more than 1,000 comments from the public. Strong efforts were made to address the concerns of all interested parties, and to ensure that the security, stability and resiliency of the Internet are not compromised."

Applications for new gTLDs will be accepted from Jan. 12, 2012 through April. 12, 2012.

"ICANN has opened the Internet's addressing system to the limitless possibilities of the human imagination. No one can predict where this historic decision will take us," said Rod Beckstrom, President and Chief Executive Officer of ICANN.

"Today's decision will usher in a new Internet age," said Peter Dengate Thrush, Chairman of ICANN's Board of Directors. "We have provided a platform for creativity and inspiration, and for the next big dot-thing."

In remarks made during the special meeting of the board that ultimately approved the new regime, board member Steve Crocker said, "Many people will write positive and negative things, I'm sure. I hope that this is studied in business schools going forward and analyzed in many ways. And we'll look back and try to understand what the results were compared to what we expected. And I think that's a very healthy process. But having been involved in a series of key decisions along way from the very beginning, I fully understand that trying to do it exactly right and particularly trying to hold things up to get things exactly right, is exactly the wrong thing to do."

The ICANN Board approved the .XXX sponsored top-level domain in March.