In May 2016 a new consortium of generic Top-Level Domains (gTLDs) was established – the Verified Top-Level Domains (vTLD) Consortium. The members of this Consortium are different from other gTLDs, in that they verify all registrants prior to permitting use of a domain name (i.e., prior to the domain name resolving on the Internet), perform post-verification audits and compliance reviews and may deactivate any domain name not complying with the vTLD’s standards and requirements.
The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), founded in 1998, has as its mission to ensure a stable and unified global Internet. One of its key responsibilities is introducing and promoting competition in the registration of domain names, while ensuring the security and stability of the domain name system (DNS). Since the emergence of the Internet just a small number Top-Level Domains (TLDs) have been available. TLDs are the part of the web address (domain name) to the right of the last dot (e.g., .com, .net or .org.), while Second-Level Domains (SLDs) are the string of characters to the left of the last dot. There are two types of TLDs. Country code TLDs (ccTLDs) are only assigned to countries and territories and have only two characters. Generic TLDs are at least three characters long. In 2011, ICANN authorized the launch of the new gTLD program with the goal of enhancing competition and consumer choice. The new gTLD application window opened in January 2012, and ICANN received 1,930 applications for new gTLDs. As of June 2016, 1,013 new gTLDs have been introduced into the Internet, 571 applications have been withdrawn, 38 applications will not be approved, and 308 applications are proceeding.