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What is ICANN?

ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) is a non-profit organization founded in 1998 in the United States with the primary goal of promoting a stable, secure, and unified global Internet. It oversees the critical functions of assigning domain names and IP addresses, which are essential for identifying and accessing resources on the Internet.

ICANN's Role in Domain Name System (DNS) Management

The Domain Name System (DNS) is fundamental in translating human-readable domain names (e.g., example.com) into machine-readable IP addresses. ICANN does not control content but plays a crucial role in coordinating and regulating domain name assignments to ensure the Internet's smooth operation. Domain registrars pay ICANN fees during the domain registration process, supporting ICANN's operational costs.

Structure of Domain Names and Transaction Fees

A domain name consists of a name (e.g., "example") and a top-level domain (TLD) like .com or .org. ICANN oversees TLD registries to maintain fairness among registrars and the integrity of the domain name system. Domain registrants pay a transaction fee and the TLD cost and a nominal ICANN fee of $0.18 per domain registration, renewal, or transfer.

IP Address Distribution

ICANN collaborates with regional Internet registries (RIRs) to efficiently administer global IP address allocations, preventing duplication and ensuring proper management.

Root Servers and ICANN's Oversight

Thirteen root servers worldwide maintain the Internet's primary address index. ICANN works with root server operators to ensure compliance with Internet standards and changes.

ICANN's Organizational Structure

ICANN comprises diverse groups representing various Internet sectors. Supporting organizations focus on IP addresses, domain names, and country code top-level domains. Advisory committees, including government bodies and Internet privacy/security representatives, provide guidance. The Board of Directors, composed of members nominated by supporting organizations and an independent committee, makes final decisions.

Decision-Making Process

Proposed changes within ICANN are publicly reviewed, gathering feedback and recommendations from relevant groups. The Board of Directors evaluates reports and may approve, deny, or modify changes based on consensus.

Accountability and Governance

ICANN is legally accountable under U.S. law and corporate regulations. Internally, it enforces accountability through bylaws, global Board representation, and dispute resolution mechanisms.

ICANN's Contribution to an Open Internet

ICANN's multi-stakeholder model ensures transparency and fairness in managing critical Internet resources, fostering an open and accessible global Internet ecosystem.

Summary: ICANN plays a pivotal role in maintaining the stability and integrity of the Internet's infrastructure through domain name management, IP address coordination, and global governance. For detailed information and updates, refer to ICANN's official resources and announcements.

For more information, visit www.icann.org

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