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    Country-Code Top Level Domain (ccTLD)

    Two letter domains, such as .MX (Mexico), .DE (Germany) and .JP (Japan), are called country-code top-level domains (ccTLDs) and correspond to a country, territory, or other geographic location. For more information regarding registering names in ccTLDs, including a complete database of designated ccTLDs and managers, please refer to


    Cybersquatting is the bad-faith registration and use of a domain name confusingly similar to an existing trademark, for example Cybersquatters often conduct a variety of illegal and illicit practices: They can deliver malware, sell counterfeit goods, host phishing schemes, steal identities, and make money from deceptive advertising ruses. They also often use highly sophisticated automated programs to acquire Internet domain names on a massive scale, which means they exploit Internet users on a massive scale.

    Domain Name

    This is the web address or URL of a website, translated into a name that is easier to remember than the underlying Internet Protocol address, which is a string of numbers. “”, for example, is a domain name.

    Domain Name System (DNS)

    The Domain Name System (DNS) helps users find their way around the Internet. Every computer on the Internet has a unique address – just like a telephone number – that is a complicated string of numbers. These strings are called Internet Protocol (IP) addresses. Because they are hard to remember, the DNS allows for a string of letters known as a domain name to correspond with an IP address. Instead of typing, you can type DNS is a mnemonic device that makes addresses easier to remember. The DNS translates the domain name you type into the corresponding IP address, and connects you to your desired website. The DNS also enables email to function properly, so the email you send will reach the intended recipient.

    Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC)

    The GAC is an advisory committee comprised of appointed representatives of national governments, multi-national governmental organizations and treaty organizations, and distinct economies. It advises the ICANN Board on matters of concern to governments. The GAC operates as a forum for the discussion of government interests and concerns, including consumer interests. As an ICANN advisory committee, the GAC has no legal authority to act but it does report its findings and recommendations to the ICANN Board. The Chairman of the GAC is Heather Dryden, a GAC representative for Canada.

    The Generic Names Supporting Organization (GNSO)

    The Generic Names Supporting Organization is one of the groups that helps coordinate global Internet policy at ICANN. It is responsible for creating policy applicable to gTLDs and is comprised of six constituencies: the Commercial and Business constituency, the gTLD Registry constituency, the ISP constituency, the non-commercial constituency, the registrar’s constituency, and the IP constituency.

    The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN)

    The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is an internationally organized, non-profit corporation responsible for Internet Protocol (IP) address space allocation, protocol identifier assignment, generic (gTLD) and country-code (ccTLD) top-level domain name system management, and root server system management. As a private-public partnership, ICANN says it is dedicated to preserving the operational stability of the Internet; to promoting competition; to achieving broad representation of global Internet communities; and to developing policy appropriate to its mission through bottom-up, consensus-based processes.

    Internationalized Domain Names (IDNs)

    IDNs are domain names written in non-Latin characters, for example in Chinese characters or Arabic script.

    Internet Protocol (IP)

    IP is the communications protocol underlying the Internet that allows large, geographically diverse networks of computers to communicate with each other quickly and economically over a variety of physical links. An Internet Protocol address is the numerical address by which a location in the Internet is identified. Computers on the Internet use IP addresses to route traffic and establish connections among themselves. People generally rely on the user-friendly string of letters made possible by the Domain Name System (DNS).

    Internet Service Provider (ISP)

    An ISP is a company that provides access to the Internet to organizations and/or individuals. Access services provided by ISPs may include web hosting, email, streaming, and a myriad of other applications.


    The FORUM processes and conducts arbitration of UDRP complaints, which are a faster and lower cost alternative to litigation.

    National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA)

    The NTIA is an agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce and serves as the President’s principal adviser on telecommunications policies related to U.S. economic and technological advancement and regulation of the telecommunications industry. The NTIA administrator is Lawrence E. Strickling. The NTIA represents the U.S. in ICANN’s Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC), is the origin of U.S. collaboration of ICANN, and now, more loosely, has signed an Affirmation of Commitments with ICANN to support the multistakeholder model, and awards the contract for the Internet’s technical functions; ICANN currently holds that contract


    Phishing is a method bad actors use to steal consumers’ personally identifiable information and financial account credentials. Social engineering schemes use spoofed emails to lead consumers to counterfeit websites designed to trick recipients into divulging financial data such as credit card numbers, account usernames, passwords, and social security numbers. Hijacking brand names of banks, e-retailers, and credit card companies, phishers often convince recipients to respond. Technical subterfuge schemes plant malware onto PCs to steal credentials directly or to misdirect users to fraudulent sites or proxy servers.


    A registrant is an individual, company, non-profit, or entity that purchases a second-level domain name from a registrar.


    Second-level domain names attached to gTLDs such as .COM, .BIZ, .INFO, .NET, .ORG and others may be purchased through registrars or companies that have bought up vast tracts of space to the left of the dot in order to resell that space to those who wish to create a website. A list of registrars is available at ICANN’s Accredited Registrar Directory.


    The Registry is the authoritative, master database of all domain names registered in each gTLD. The registry operator keeps the master database and generates the “zone file” which allows computers to route Internet traffic to and from gTLDs anywhere in the world. Internet users don’t interact directly with the registry operator; users can register domain names in gTLDs by using an ICANN-Accredited Registrar. For additional information, click here.

    Regional Internet Registry (RIR)

    RIRs are non-profit organizations responsible for distributing and managing Internet Protocol addresses on a regional level to Internet service providers and local registries. Five RIRs currently exist. For more information, click here.

    Second-Level Domain Names

    These are the characters to the left of the dot that are attached to a gTLD. To date, they have been available for public purchase to create a website. Second-level domain names are made available for purchase in open new gTLDs but not in closed or restricted new gTLDs.

    Sub Directory

    Sub directories are additional pages within a website created by the website owner. They are identified in a web address as the space after one or two slashes. For example,

    Sunrise Period for New gTLDs

    A sunrise period for new gTLDs is a limited amount of time during which brand owners registered with the Trademark Clearinghouse may buy second-level domains in new gTLDs before the general public has a chance to register in that gTLD, as long as the domain names match their trademarks.

    Top-Level Domain (TLD)

    TLDs are the phrases at the top of the DNS naming hierarchy. They appear in domain names to the right of the dot, such as “.net” in “”. They are also known as generic TLDs or gTLDs. The administrator for a TLD controls the second-level domain names attached to the TLD. Commonly used TLDs include .COM, .NET, .EDU, .INFO, etc. In a process that began at the end of 2013 and will continue over the next 18 months or so, an additional 1,400 gTLDs will be available in the Internet landscape . For the nitty gritty, click here.

    Trademark Clearinghouse (TMCH)

    The TMCH is one of the ways ICANN offers protections to brand owners. The TMCH is a global database of verified trademarks to which brand owners can submit their trademark information for a fee to protect against others using their intellectual property. When brand owners register with the TMCH, they become eligible for notification if anyone tries to register their marks in any of the new gTLDs. Registering with the TMCH also entitles brand owners to participate in sunrise periods – a time during which they alone may apply for a domain name in any new gTLD, as long as the domain name matches their trademark. To register a non-exact second-level domain name in a new gTLD – a common misspelling of the brand name, for example – brand owners must wait until registrations in that gTLD are open to the public.

    Uniform Domain-Name Dispute-Resolution Policy (UDRP)

    ICANN-accredited registrars must follow a uniform domain-name dispute-resolution policy under which disputes over entitlement to a domain name registration are ordinarily resolved by the courts. The registrar implements the court ruling. In disputes involving abusive registrations made by cybersquatters, the uniform policy provides an expedited administrative procedure to allow the dispute to be resolved without the cost and delay of court litigation. For more details on the UDRP, see the ICANN UDRP page.

    Uniform Resource Locator (URL)

    A URL is another name for a web address, or domain name, which is located in the address bar, such as


    Whois (not an acronym and pronounced “who is”) is used to obtain information about the registration of a domain name or IP address. ICANN’s gTLD agreements require registries and registrars to offer an interactive web page providing free public access to data on registered names. That data is commonly referred to as “Whois data,” and includes domain name registration creation and expiration dates, contact information for the registrant, and designated administrative and technical contacts. Whois services are typically used to identify domain name holders for business purposes and to identify parties who are able to correct technical problems associated with the registered domain name. For more information, click here.

    World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)

    WIPO is an intergovernmental organization based in Geneva, Switzerland, that promotes the protection of intellectual rights throughout the world. One of the services it provides is the processing and arbitration of UDRP complaints. It is one of the 16 specialized agencies of the United Nations system of organizations.

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