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[council] Filtering of New Top Level Domains By the ISPs

Please see the following statement from the gTLD Registry Constituency on the "Filtering of New Top Level Domains By the ISP's".  Please let us know if you have any questions or comments and how best we can work together to ensure that in the future new generic top-level domains (both sponsored and unsponsored) do not have the same difficulties that have been encountered by many of the registries chosen in November, 2000.
A word version of the below is also provided.
Jeffrey J. Neuman
Chair, gTLD Registries Constituency  




Since new domain names (DNS) were first introduced, top-level domains (both gTLDs and ccTLDs) have been predominantly two or three characters.  Although one four letter TLD was initially created (.arpa), such domain has not been in use by the general public.  Prior to November 2000, the list of valid TLDs very seldom changed, and only a few ccTLDs were added to the list, including Palestine (.ps) and Afghanistan (.af).


In November 2000, however, seven new TLDs were approved by ICANN and subsequently added to the root.  These included several TLDs with 4 or more characters (.aero, .coop, .info, .name, and .museum).  Although the implementation of these new TLDs began in 2001, they found considerable barriers for being accepted by most ISPs worldwide.  Even several of the three letter new TLDs, including .biz, ran into some difficulty in being accepted by many of the world's leading ISPs. 

 Some ISPs are using incomplete domain name lists for filtering e-mail and URL addresses[1] and it is obvious their systems that filter top-level domain names do not check and update the current validation list of TLDs ("generic" and country code-related) published by IANA at http://www.iana.org/domain-names.htm.

 This is critical because when an incomplete list is used, new TLDs will not be recognized as valid domains and the system may try to reach them via different domains.  For example, "entity.xxxx" is a valid name because it is included in the IANA list; however, if ISPs do not recognize "xxxx." as a valid TLD, this is turned into "entity.xxxx.com" and http://www.entity.xxxx.com" instead (and then fails or finds the wrong host).


According to several recent reports, ICANN intends to expand the list of new gTLDs.  Such expansion may take place at regular intervals. Thus, it is essential that ICANN and its constituencies, in particularly the ISPs, are aware that at present this problem exists and, as a result, new gTLDs are not able to function adequately. 

New potential registry operators should be aware that this barrier exists and ICANN should consider coordinating these issues more closely.  Global acceptance of all valid domain names is an integral part of maintaining Internet stability.


It is important to note:

         New TLDs, added to the TLD list in Nov 2000, are not yet globally accepted by ISPs, web hosts and e-commerce sites.

         Security techniques, which have been designed to protect the DNS system, are creating barriers for non-accessibility (acting as filters).

         ISPs, when rejecting valid forms of domain names, email addresses or URLs, effectively deny service to the user of those entities or cyber communities.

         ICANN seeks to extend new TLDs to the current TLD list despite the above-described problem.

         New potential TLDs should be made aware of this problem before submitting applications at the next opening.


As this problem is causing economical hardship to sponsors, registry operators and consumers, we recommend that the ISP Constituency along with the ICANN community collaborate more closely to minimize these problems.

[1] Detailed description of the filtering issue is contained in a new I-D published here




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