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Frequently Asked Questions about the Applicant Support Program

Last update: 10 June 2024. This list of FAQs will be updated as the program progresses.

  1. What is the purpose of the Applicant Support Program (ASP)?

    The ASP is intended to make the New Generic Top Level Domains (gTLD) Program: Next Round application and evaluation processes and fees more accessible to entities that would like to operate a registry but would otherwise be unable to apply, because of financial and resource constraints.

  2. What are some examples of gTLDs and how they are used?

    Top-Level Domains (TLDs) are the names at the top of the Domain Name System (DNS) hierarchy. They appear in domain names as the string of letters following the last dot, such as "NET" in GTLDs are TLDs that do not correspond to any country code. We invite you to consult this section of the ICANN website for case studies that tell the story of several TLDs, including their backgrounds and business objectives.

    While individuals and organizations can register a domain name, the process of applying for a gTLD is much more complex. In fact, when you apply for a top-level domain, you are applying to operate an Internet registry business (a Registry Operator or RO) that supports the DNS.

  3. What qualifies an ASP applicant for support? What are the criteria to qualify?

    Applicant eligibility and evaluation criteria are described in Section 4: Applicant Eligibility and Evaluation Categories, of the ASP Handbook. Based on the current criteria, eligible ASP applicants must meet financial need and financial viability requirements, and fall into at least one of the following entity categories:

    • Nonprofits, charities, or equivalent
    • Intergovernmental organizations (IGOs)
    • Indigenous/tribal people's organizations
    • Social impact or public benefit micro- or small-sized businesses
    • Micro- or small-sized businesses from a less-developed economy
  4. What assistance does a qualified supported applicant receive?

    Supported applicants will be eligible to receive the following:

    • Access to pro bono service providers, training, and other resources.
    • Reduced gTLD base application and evaluation fees (between 75-85% reduction).
  5. When will I be able to apply for support?
    The ASP is anticipated to open in Q4 2024 and will remain open for 12 months. ASP applications will be assessed on an ongoing basis. ICANN org retains the option to modify the ASP application submission period and will communicate the change accordingly.

    Important Note: ASP applicants are strongly encouraged to apply early for the following reasons:

    • ICANN has budgeted support for up to 40 applicants at an 85% fee reduction. Should demand exceed this amount, the fee reduction can be reduced to [75%] to cover up to [45] supported applicants. However, it is important to recognize program resource limitations.
    • Since ASP evaluations will be conducted on an ongoing basis, the first applicants to apply and qualify for support will be able to take advantage of the resources available. Those that apply after the available resources have been expended may have to wait until future cycles of the program.
      1. For example: an ASP applicant that applies and qualifies for support by April 2025 will have a full 12 months to take advantage of the non-financial support prior to the gTLD application submission period.
      2. In addition, New gTLD Program applicants need time to negotiate with Registry Service Providers (RSPs) in advance of submitting a gTLD application and may want to utilize pro bono (volunteer) services available. Access to additional non-financial support will be most beneficial if the supported applicant has adequate time to utilize those resources
      3. This also avoids a situation where the results of an applicant's ASP evaluation are pending during the gTLD application submission period. This may cause the applicant to have to pay the full gTLD application fee to meet the deadline while waiting for the results of the ASP evaluation. Should the applicant later qualify for support, ICANN org would refund the applicant's supported portion of the gTLD application fee.
  6. For more information, see Section 3: Applicant Support Program Timeline in the ASP Handbook.
  7. Whom can I contact for more information?

  8. Where can I learn more about applying for a new gTLD?

    For more information about applying for a new gTLD, please see the New gTLD Program website.