Domain Name Glossary

See below for definitions of terms and acronyms commonly used in the domain name industry. To jump to a specific section click the relevant letter below.

A , B , C , D , E , F , G , H , I , J , K , L , M , N , O , P , Q , R , S , T , U , V , W , X , Y , Z

2FA (Two-factor authentication)

2FA is a type of multi-factor authentication. It is an authentication method in which a computer user is granted access only after successfully presenting two pieces of evidence (or factors) to an authentication mechanism.

A record

DNS records are used to control the location of a resource on the Internet. An A Record is used to point a logical domain name, such as “google.com”, to the IP address of Google’s hosting server, “74.125.224.147”.

AC (Advisory Committee)

Advisory Committee of ICANN is a formal advisory body, composed of representatives from the internet community with expertise in a particular issue, e.g. GAC, SSAC, etc.

ACPA (Anti-Cybersquatting Protection Act)

Legislation in the United States designed to deal with cybersquatting in certain circumstances.

ALAC (At-Large Advisory Committee)

The ALAC is an advisory committee to ICANN and it is the primary organizational home within ICANN for individual Internet users.

APOC (Abuse Point of Contact)

Registry operators must provide a single abuse point of contact to enable notifications of abusive behaviours in relation to their TLD(s). The abuse page of the registry website should publish the single abuse point of contact’s accurate contact details – email, postal address, primary contact person for managing inquiries connected to abuse in the TLD.

ASCII (American Standard Code for Information Interchange)

A character encoding based on the English alphabet. When mentioned in relation to domain names or strings, ASCII refers to the fact that before internationalisation only the letters a-z, digits 0-9, and the hyphen “-”, were allowed in domain names.

ASO (Address Supporting Organization)

The ASO is a supporting organization whose purpose is to review and develop recommendations on Internet Protocol address policy and to advise the ICANN Board.

BRG (Brand Registry Group)

The Brand Registry Group is a trade association representing the interests of brand owners who applied for single-registrant, closed registries with ICANN. The BRG is an associate member of the RySG, so has one vote within that stakeholder group.

CAC (Czech Arbitration Court)

Provider of .eu ADR and UDRP disputes.

ccNSO (Country Code Names Supporting Organization)

“The ccNSO is a body within the ICANN structure created for and by ccTLD managers.
Since its creation in 2003, the ccNSO has provided a forum for country code Top Level Domain (ccTLD) managers to meet and discuss topical issues of concern to ccTLDs from a global perspective and to share experiences. The variety of policies implemented by the ccTLDs facilitates the identification of best practice and cultural diversity.”

ccTLD (Country-Code Top Level Domain)

A class of top-level domain for countries and territories listed in the ISO 3166-1 lists. All ASCII ccTLD identifiers are two letters long, and all two-letter top-level domains are ccTLDs.

CNAME (Canonical Name record)

CNAME records can be used to alias one name to another. The DNS resolves the system’s domain name to its IP address, but sometimes more than one domain name resolves to the same IP address, and this is where the CNAME is useful. CNAME records can be used to alias one hostname to another, in contrast to an A record, which resolves a domain name to an IP address. A CNAME can be useful where you need multiple domain names to resolve to the same IP address: instead of setting up multiple A records, you can setup one of the domains (a.com) to resolve to the IP address as an A record, and set up the other domains as CNAME records pointing to a.com. This means that if the IP address ever needs to be changed, you only have to amend one A record.

Consensus Policy

A policy created through the GNSO policy development process listed in Annex A of the ICANN Bylaws. Consensus policies are binding on Registries and Registrars through their contracts. For more information, see the list of Consensus Policies that have been adopted by the ICANN Board of Directors.

Constituency

“A Constituency is a formal interest group recognised by ICANN as representing a certain group of people and/or businesses that share a common perspective or interest pertaining to the domain name space. Constituencies have votes and shape a formal part of ICANN’s structure. For more information please refer to the GNSO’s Organizational Structure chart (https://icannwiki.org/Generic_Names_Supporting_Organization#/media/File:GNSO-Council.png) and ICANN’s Organizational Chart (https://www.icann.org/resources/pages/chart-2012-02-11-en)”.

Contracted Parties

A collective term for gTLD Registries and Registrars, who all operate their businesses based upon contracts with ICANN. The Contracted Parties form one of two voting houses of the GNSO Council.

Cybersquatting

The practice of registering domain names which may infringe third party rights.

Delegation

Delegation refers to the delegation of responsibility by ICANN/IANA for administration of a TLD in the DNS root. The root zone is edited to include a new TLD, and the management of domain name registrations under such TLD is turned over to the Registry Operator. IANA manages the DNS root zone and the Root Zone Database provides the delegation details of all the TLDs.

Dispute Resolution Service (DRS)

The dispute mechanism for .uk domain names.

DNS (Domain Name System)

The DNS helps users to find their way around the internet. Every computer on the internet has a unique address – just like a telephone number – which is a rather complicated string of numbers. It is called its “IP address” (IP stands for “Internet Protocol”). IP Addresses are hard to remember. The DNS makes using the internet easier by allowing a familiar string of letters (the “domain name”) to be used instead of the arcane IP address. So instead of typing 207.151.159.3, you can type www.internic.net. It is a “mnemonic” device that makes addresses easier to remember.

DNSSEC (Domain Name System Security Extensions)

DNSSEC are a set of Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) standards created to address vulnerabilities in the Domain Name System (DNS) and protect it from online threats.

Domain Benchmarking

Benchmarking is a service offering, introduced in late 2019, which assists Com Laude clients in taking a strategic approach to managing their domain portfolios. For more information please visit: https://comlaude.com/domain-benchmarking-podcast/.

Domain Name

A domain name is a text name or string of characters (e.g. comlaude.com) which provides a more memorable name to stand in for the address of a computer on the internet (which is typically a set of numbers, known as an IP address). Domain names must be unique. A web user can access a website by typing its domain name into the address bar of their web browser. Domain names are also used in email addresses to ensure an email is sent to the right person.

Dot Brand Domain

A dot brand domain is a new generic Top Level Domain that has been registered by a brand. Examples include: .gucci, .microsoft, .kpmg.

ePDP (Expedited Policy Development Process)

EPDPs are a GNSO policy function set out in the ICANN Bylaws used to establish Consensus Policy. They are the same as GNSO PDPs except they have a shorter scoping and issue identification phase.

ERRP (Expired Registration Recovery Policy)

ERRP is an ICANN policy covering the process we must take when a gTLD domain we manage is lapsing.  The policy includes the email notifications we are required to send to the Registered Name Holder, the timing around interrupting delegation of the domain so that website and email no longer resolve, and the relevant time period and costs incurred should the Registered Name Holder wish to renew a domain that has gone past the expiration date without renewal. Read more: https://www.icann.org/resources/pages/errp-2013-02-28-en.

FERM (Front End Registry Management)

FERM is a full-outsource service offered by Com Laude, which includes managing the ICANN application process for a new TLD, day-to-day operation and ensuring compliance with ICANN requirements, strategic use case advice, and other forms of consulting work for new gTLD’s. For more information please visit: https://comlaude.com/valideus/gtld-services/front-end-registry-services/.

GAC (Governmental Advisory Committee)

The GAC is an advisory committee comprising appointed representatives of national governments, multi-national governmental organisations and treaty organisations, and distinct economies. It’s function is to advise the ICANN Board on matters of concern to governments. The GAC will operate as a forum for the discussion of government interests and concerns, including consumer interests. As an advisory committee, the GAC has no legal authority to act for ICANN, but will report its findings and recommendations to the ICANN Board.

Gap Analysis

A Gap Analysis allows a brand owner to identify gaps within their domain portfolio by comparing brands or key terms against each other, and/or against key jurisdictions.

GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation)

European Regulation 2016/679 is a regulation in EU law on data protection and privacy.

General Availability

The term used to describe when domain names in a registry are available to register according to the standard eligibility requirements of the registry.

GNSO (Generic Names Supporting Organisation)

The GNSO is a policy-development body that is responsible for developing the policy for all gTLDs. It encompasses the Non-Contracted Parties House (NCPH), which includes the Commercial Stakeholder Group and the Non-Commercial Stakeholder Group, and the Contracted Parties House (CPH), which includes the Registrars Stakeholder Group (RrSG) and the Registries Stakeholder Group (RySG).

Go Live

“Go Live” is another term for “released” or “launched”. When a new gTLD “goes live”, it will be possible to register second-level domains.

gTLD Applicant Guidebook

Applicant Guidebook describing the requirements of the application and evaluation processes for a new gTLD. Download the Applicant Guidebook at http://newgtlds.icann.org/en/applicants/agb.

IANA (Internet Assigned Numbers Authority)

The IANA is a division of ICANN. It is the authority originally responsible for overseeing IP address allocation, coordinating the assignment of protocol parameters provided for in internet technical standards, and managing the DNS, including delegating top-level domains, and overseeing the root name server system. Under ICANN, the IANA distributes addresses to the Regional Internet Registries, coordinates with the Internet Engineering Task Force and other technical bodies to assign protocol parameters, and oversees DNS operation.

ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers)

ICANN manages the domain name system to ensure the operational stability of the internet. It is a California-incorporated, non-profit corporation that was created at the end of 1998 following the release of the NTIA Draft Proposal to Improve Technical Management of Internet Names and Addresses (Green Paper) and the NTIA Management of Internet Names and Addresses (White Paper). ICANN develops domain name policy through a bottom up, multi-stakeholder model.

IDN (Internationalised Domain Name)

A domain name including characters used in the local representation of scripts not written with the basic Latin alphabet (a-z). An IDN can contain Latin letters with diacritical marks, as required by many European languages, or may consist of characters from non-Latin scripts such as Arabic or Chinese.

IE (Initial Evaluation)

New gTLD applications are reviewed by several panels of evaluators. During the Initial Evaluation the following assessments are completed: 1) String reviews and 2) Applicant reviews. String reviews consist of checks that the applied-for gTLD string is not expected to cause security or stability problems in the DNS. Applicant reviews include an assessment into whether the applicant has the necessary technical, operational and financial capabilities to operate a registry. For more information, consult the applicant guidebook – http://newgtlds.icann.org/en/applicants/agb.

IP Address

An IP address is a numerical label assigned to a computer on the internet.

IP Claims (Intellectual Property Claims)

A Trademark Claims Service will be offered for a minimum of 90 days following sunrise in a new gTLD registry. The Claims Service will require registries to check new domain name registrations against the TMCH, and notify trademark owners and registrants when prospective registrations are identical to a mark.

IPC (Intellectual Property Constituency)

The IPC is one of the Constituencies of the GNSO. They represent the interests of intellectual property owners worldwide and are particularly focussed on trademark and copyright concerns in the domain name system.

IRP (Independent Review Process)

The IRP is an accountability mechanism provided by the ICANN Bylaws that allows for third-party review of actions (or inactions) by the ICANN Board or staff that are allegedly in violation of the Bylaws or Articles of Incorporation.

IRT (Implementation Review Team)

An IRT is a team convened to determine how policy should be implemented. IRTs are not limited to just GNSO policies. Further, the role of IRTs is to oversee the implementation of policy by ICANN Staff.

Landrush

The landrush phase is a period of time immediately following the launch of a TLD and provides the first opportunity for the general public to apply to register a domain name in that particular TLD.

LOC (Letter of Credit)

In the ICANN context, an LOC usually refers to a document issued by a bank or other financial institution to assure ICANN that the new gTLD applicant is creditworthy.

NIC (Network Information Centre)

A registry operator who maintains administrative data of a domain and generates a zone file which contains the addresses of the nameservers for each domain.

Panellist

The decision makers in domain name disputed mechanisms, such as the UDRP.

PDDRP (Post-Delegation Dispute Resolution Procedure)

The Trademark PDDRP provides trademark holders the opportunity to seek redress from new gTLD Registry Operators exhibiting bad faith intent to profit from the systemic registration of infringing domain names. Remedies vary and may include termination of the registry contract by ICANN in extreme cases.

PDP (Policy Development Process)

There are three different PDPs set out in the ICANN Bylaws: GNSO PDPs, GNSO EPDPs, ccNSO PDPs. The GNSO PDP and EPDP are where Consensus Policies are developed (these are binding on Registries and Registrars). Unless specified, GNSO PDPs apply to all gTLDs, not just new gTLDs.

PDT (new gTLD Pre Delegation Testing)

Pre-delegation is a phase prior to delegation whereby applicants must complete a pre-delegation technical test to validate information submitted in their new gTLD application. This test must be passed by all new gTLD applicants before they are allowed to be introduced into the root zone.

Premium Names

Premium names are domain names that are held back from the sunrise process and can be allocated through auction or an RFP process rather than first come, first served. The cost of a premium domain name can be significantly larger than a typical domain purchase.

RAA (Registrar Accreditation Agreement)

The RAA is the contract that governs the relationship between ICANN and its accredited registrars.

RDAP (Registration Data Access Protocol)

An eventual replacement for the current WHOIS, RDAP is a protocol that delivers registration data like WHOIS, but its implementation will change and standardize data access and query response formats. Read more here: https://www.icann.org/rdap.

RDNH (Reverse domain name hijacking)

Bringing a complaint under the UDRP or other dispute mechanism in bad faith.

Registrant

Registrants are the internet users who register domain names. Domain names must be registered through an ICANN-Accredited Registrar. Registrants do not interact directly with the Registry Operator. It is only gTLD domains that must be registered through an ICANN Accredited Registrar. With ccTLDs it is up to each ccTLD operator whether they only use Accredited Registrars or not.

Registrar

An ICANN-accredited registrar is an entity that registrants use to register domain names. There are over 1500 ICANN accredited registrars in competition with each other. The registrar retains records containing technical and contact information that the registrants provide. These records are then submitted to the registry. The registrar has access to make changes to a registration by adding, deleting, or updating domain name records. It is only gTLD domains that must be registered through an ICANN Accredited Registrar. With ccTLDs it is up to each ccTLD operator whether they only use Accredited Registrars or not.

Registry

A registry is an authoritative master database of domain names registered in each top level domain. A Registry Operator maintains the master database of domain names for that registry. In addition, they produce the “zone files” that direct internet traffic to and from top level domains from any global location.

Registry Agreement

The agreement executed between ICANN and a registry operator pertaining to the operation of a gTLD.

Registry Operator

The entity entering into the registry agreement with ICANN, responsible for the operation of the registry.

RfR (Request for Reconsideration)

Any person or entity may submit a request for reconsideration or review of an ICANN action or inaction (“Reconsideration Request”), provided that the person/entity has been adversely affected by it. To protect against abuse of the reconsideration process, a request for reconsideration may be dismissed by the Reconsideration Committee.

RGP (Redemption Grace Period)

The Redemption Grace Period helps resolve problems associated with domain name registration deletions caused by mistake, inadvertence, or fraud. When a domain name is deleted, a 30 day Deleted Name Redemption Grace Period will follow. This allows the registrant, registry, and/or registrar enough time to identify and amend any mistaken deletions. In this time the domain name will not function because it will have been removed from the zone. Succeeding the 30 day period, there is a 5-day period before a domain is finally deleted in order to notify all registrars of the deletion.

Root Zone

The root zone database represents the delegation details of top-level domains, including gTLDs and ccTLDs. As manager of the DNS root zone, IANA is responsible for coordinating these delegations in accordance with its policies and procedures. Please use this link to access the Root Zone database: https://www.iana.org/domains/root/db.

RRA (Registry-Registrar Agreement)

The RRA is the contract that governs the relationship between a Registry and an accredited Registrar. To offer a TLD a registrar will first be required to enter into a Registry-Registrar Agreement with the Registry Operator.

RrSG (Registrar Stakeholder Group)

The Registrar Stakeholder Group forms part of ICANN’s GNSO, representing the interests of the (ICANN-accredited) domain name registrars in ICANN policy making.

RSSAC (Root Server System Advisory Committee)

The RSSAC is an advisory committee to ICANN that advises the ICANN Board and community on matters relating to the operation, administration, security, and integrity of the Root Server System.

RySG (Registries Stakeholder Group)

The Registries Stakeholder Group forms part of ICANN’s GNSO, representing the interests of gTLD registries in ICANN policy making.

SG (Stakeholder Group)

SG are the bodies that comprise the Generic Names Supporting Organization, with each SG representing a different set of interests in the policy making process, e.g. Commercial SG (CSG), Non-Commercial SG (NCSG), Registrars SG (RrSG), and Registry SG (RySG). For more information please refer to the GNSO’s Organizational Structure chart (https://icannwiki.org/Generic_Names_Supporting_Organization#/media/File:GNSO-Council.png).

SO (Supporting Organisation)

The ICANN Supporting Organizations (e.g. GNSO, ccNSO, etc.) are bodies within ICANN’s structure with the primary responsibility of developing and recommending substantive policies regarding those matters falling within their specific remit.

SSAC (Security and Stability Advisory Committee)

The SSAC advises the ICANN community and Board on matters relating to the security and integrity of the Internet’s naming and address allocation systems.

SSL (Secure Sockets Layer)

SSL is a networking protocol designed for securing connections between web clients and web servers.

Sunrise

Sunrise is a pre-launch phase providing trademark holders the opportunity to register domain names in a TLD before registration is generally available to the public. All new non-brand gTLD registries will have an obligation to provide a minimum 30 days notification of sunrise and then a 30-day sunrise period.

Thick Registry

A registry that must collect and store the registrant, admin and tech details for a domain name. Example TLDs are .INFO and .BIZ; also, all new gTLDs are thick registries.

Thin Registry

A registry where they are not required to collect all of the contact information for a domain. When performing a WHOIS lookup at a thin registry you will only see information related to the sponsoring registrar, nameservers, registration/expiration dates and the status of the domain. Example TLDs are .COM and .NET.

TMCH (Trademark Clearinghouse)

The TMCH is a global, central repository of trademark rights information to protect trademarks in the new gTLD program. It eliminates the need for brand owners to submit their trademark information to separate databases belonging to each registry.

Trademark Claims

See IP Claims.

Typosquatting

Registering domain names which are close typographical varients of trade marked terms or brand names.

UDRP (Uniform Dispute Resolution Policy)

A policy for resolving disputes arising from alleged abusive registration of domain names (for example, cybersquatting), allowing expedited administrative proceedings that a trademark rights holder initiates by filing a complaint with an approved dispute resolution service provider.

URS (Uniform Rapid Suspension)

The URS provides trademark holders with a rapid and efficient mechanism to “take down” undeniably infringing domain names. A successful proceeding will result in suspension of the domain name. Compliance with results is mandatory for all new gTLD operators. It is designed as a quicker and cheaper alternative to the UDRP, but only for clear-cut cases of infringement.

WHOIS

WHOIS provides public access to data associated with registered domain names. Databases can be queried that contain information such as registration and expiry dates, name servers, registrar information and registrant contact information. Following the adoption of the GDPR, the latter can be hidden to ensure the protection of the registrant’s privacy. Registrars must remind registrants to update, review and correct their WHOIS data at least once a year. Domain name registrations may be cancelled if the registrant provides false WHOIS data. (WHOIS will eventually be replaced by a new RDDS protocol, RDAP. Both WHOIS and RDAP are mechanisms for storing and disseminating the RDDS data.)

WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organization)

United Nations body devoted to the protection of intellectual property rights and an administrator of the UDRP.

Zone file

The zone file contains all resource records associated with a domain name, and is stored on a DNS server maintained by the registry operator, i.e. the zone file for a TLD shows you a list of the domain names which are registered and delegated within that TLD.

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