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GAC Advice

The GAC provides advice to the ICANN Board on policy matters where there may be an interaction between ICANN’s policies and various laws, international agreements and public policy objectives. GAC Advice is communicated to the ICANN Board through either a Communique or a formal piece of Correspondence.


GAC Advice

Reference No. :


First Delivered via :



Consensus met



Safeguard Advice

The following safeguards are intended to apply to particular categories of new gTLDs as detailed below.

Category 1

Consumer Protection, Sensitive Strings, and Regulated Markets:

The GAC Advises the ICANN Board:

  • Strings that are linked to regulated or professional sectors should operate in a way that is consistent with applicable laws. These strings are likely to invoke a level of implied trust from consumers, and carry higher levels of risk associated with consumer harm. The following safeguards should apply to strings that are related to these sectors:
  1. Registry operators will include in its acceptable use policy that registrants comply with all applicable laws, including those that relate to privacy, data collection, consumer protection (including in relation to misleading and deceptive conduct), fair lending, debt collection, organic farming, disclosure of data, and financial disclosures.
  2. Registry operators will require registrars at the time of registration to notify registrants of this requirement.
  3. Registry operators will require that registrants who collect and maintain sensitive health and financial data implement reasonable and appropriate security measures commensurate with the offering of those services, as defined by applicable law and recognized industry standards.
  4. Establish a working relationship with the relevant regulatory, or industry self-regulatory, bodies, including developing a strategy to mitigate as much as possible the risks of fraudulent, and other illegal, activities.
  5. Registrants must be required by the registry operators to notify to them a single point of contact which must be kept up-to-date, for the notification of complaints or reports of registration abuse, as well as the contact details of the relevant regulatory, or industry self-regulatory, bodies in their main place of business.

In the current round the GAC has identified the following non-exhaustive list of strings that the above safeguards should apply to:


.kid, .kids, .kinder, .game, .games, .juegos, .play, .school, .schule, .toys


.earth, .eco, .green, .bio, .organic

Health and Fitness:

.care, .diet, .fit, .fitness, .health, .healthcare, .heart, .hiv, .hospital,, .med, .medical, .organic, .pharmacy, .rehab, .surgery, .clinic, .healthy (IDN Chinese equivalent), .dental, .dentist .doctor, .dds, .physio


capital, . cash, .cashbackbonus, .broker, .brokers, .claims, .exchange, .finance, .financial, .fianancialaid, .forex, .fund, .investments, .lease, .loan, .loans, .market, . markets, .money, .pay, .payu, .retirement, .save, .trading, .autoinsurance, .bank, .banque, .carinsurance, .credit, .creditcard, .creditunion,.insurance, .insure, ira, .lifeinsurance, .mortgage, .mutualfunds, .mutuelle, .netbank, .reit, .tax, .travelersinsurance, .vermogensberater, .vermogensberatung and .vesicherung.


.bet, .bingo, .lotto, .poker, and .spreadbetting, .casino


.care, .gives, .giving, .charity (and IDN Chinese equivalent)


degree, .mba, .university

Intellectual Property

.audio, .book (and IDN equivalent), .broadway, .film, .game, .games, .juegos, .movie, .music, .software, .song, .tunes, .fashion (and IDN equivalent), .video, .app, .art, .author, .band, .beats, .cloud (and IDN equivalent), .data, .design, .digital, .download, .entertainment, .fan, .fans, .free, .gratis, .discount, .sale, .hiphop, .media, .news, .online, .pictures, .radio, .rip, .show, .theater, .theatre, .tour, .tours, .tvs, .video, .zip

Professional Services:

.abogado, .accountant, .accountants, .architect, .associates, .attorney, .broker, .brokers, .cpa, .doctor, .dentist, .dds, .engineer, .lawyer, .legal, .realtor, .realty, .vet

Corporate Identifiers:

.corp, .gmbh, .inc, .limited, .llc, .llp, .ltda, .ltd, .sarl, .srl, .sal

Generic Geographic Terms:

.town, .city, .capital

.reise, .reisen[1]




Inherently Governmental Functions

.army, .navy, .airforce

In addition, applicants for the following strings should develop clear policies and processes to minimise the risk of cyber bullying/harassment

.fail, .gripe, .sucks, .wtf

[1] Austria, Germany, and Switzerland support requirements for registry operators to develop registration policies that allow only travel-related entities to register domain names. Second Level Domains should have a connection to travel industries and/or its customers

The GAC further advises the Board:

1. In addition, some of the above strings may require further targeted safeguards, to address specific risks, and to bring registry policies in line with arrangements in place offline. In particular, a limited subset of the above strings are associated with market sectors which have clear and/or regulated entry requirements (such as: financial, gambling, professional services, environmental, health and fitness, corporate identifiers, and charity) in multiple jurisdictions, and the additional safeguards below should apply to some of the strings in those sectors:

6. At the time of registration, the registry operator must verify and validate the registrants’ authorisations, charters, licenses and/or other related credentials for participation in that sector.

7. In case of doubt with regard to the authenticity of licenses or credentials, Registry Operators should consult with relevant national supervisory authorities, or their equivalents.

8. The registry operator must conduct periodic post-registration checks to ensure registrants’ validity and compliance with the above requirements in order to ensure they continue to conform to appropriate regulations and licensing requirements and generally conduct their activities in the interests of the consumers they serve.

GAC Acknowledgement of Register Entry

GAC: 2 May 2013

Board: 9 May 2013

Next Steps/Required Action

Board Action:

Publish GAC Communique and notify applicants of 21-day GAC Advice Response Period Staff 18 April Complete
Applicants 21-day response period to GAC Advice Applicants 19 April 10 May Complete
Publish GAC Communique to solicit input on how the New gTLD Board Committee should address GAC advice regarding safeguards applicable to broad categories of New gTLD Strings Staff 23 April Complete

Public Comment period on how Board should address GAC Advice re: Safeguards


Public 23 April


14 May


4 June

Collect and summarize applicant responses to GAC Advice Staff 11 May 31 May Complete
Summarize and analyze public comments on how Board should address GAC Advice re: Safeguards Staff 5 June 12 June Complete
Review and Consider Applicant responses to GAC Advice and Public Comments on how Board should respond to GAC Advice re: Safeguards New gTLD Program Committee 13 June 20 June Not Started

The NGPC is also developing a GAC Scorecard similar to the one used during the GAC and the Board meetings in Brussels on 28 February and 1 March 2011.

Each scorecard item will be noted with a '1A' '1B' or '2'

1A: Indicates that the NGPC's proposed position is consistent with GAC Advice as described in the Scorecard.

1B: Indicates that the NGPC's proposed position is consistent with GAC Advice as described in the Scorecard in principle, with some revisions to be made.

2: Indicates that the NGPC's current position is not consistent with GAC advice as described in the Scorecard and further discussion with the GAC is required following the relevant procedures in the ICANN Bylaws.

Updates: http://www.icann.org/en/news/announcements/announcement-14jun13-en.htm

Board Scorecard:

Responsible Party


Current Status/Communications Log

10 May 2013 - Letter from the ICANN Board re: Progress in Addressing GAC Beijing Advice

6 June 2013: NGPC Scorecard

8 September 2013: NGPC Scorecard

The NGPC continues to deliberate on how to implement the GAC’s advice concerning exclusive registry access for strings representing generic terms. As previously noted, twelve applicants responded that the TLD would be operated as an exclusive access registry. These 12 applicants have applied for the following strings: .BROKER, .CRUISE, .DATA, .DVR, .GROCERY, .MOBILE, .PHONE, .STORE, .THEATER, .THEATRE and .TIRES.
In response to ICANN’s request, each of the 12applicants have provided an explanation of how exclusive access registry for the applied-for TLD
would serve a public interest goal. At its 21 June 2014 meeting, the NGPC discussed possible next steps to consider the GAC’s advice, and considered whether it would be appropriate and beneficial to initiate a public comment period concerning the responses from the 12 applicants.
The NGPC directed staff to prepare potential questions that could be used to frame a possible public comment forum, and agreed to consider this matter further at a subsequent meeting. The NGPC is actively working on this matter and anticipates further considering this matter during its meeting at ICANN 51 in Los Angeles.

Letter from Steve Crocker to Thomas Schneider regarding GAC advice re Category 1 Safeguards for New gTLDs (23 June 2015)

Board Action (Accept/Disagree)


NGPC Consideration of GAC Beijing Advice 07-03-13[2].docx

  • After considering the community comments, the NGPC decided to begin a dialogue with the GAC during the ICANN Meeting in Durban to clarify the scope of the requirements provided in the Category 1 Safeguard Advice. The dialogue with the GAC on Category 1 will also include discussion of GAC's Category 2.1 Safeguard Advice regarding 'Restricted Access' since that advice applies to the strings listed under Category 1. Pending the dialogue with the GAC, staff will defer moving forward with the contracting process for applicants who have applied for TLD strings listed in the GAC’s Category 1 Safeguard Advice.
  • See http://www.icann.org/en/groups/board/documents/resolutions-new-gtld-02july13-en.htm.