When a new Top Level Domain is authorised for use, whether as a generic Top Level Domain, or a country code Top Level Domain, it typically goes through a number of stages to minimise the potential for disputes following release of the domains.

The major phases are explained here.


Typically, the domain names are offered to a limited subset of the applicable community that the names are for. This may be all at once, but often follows a process of one group at a time. Examples of groups in this stage include:

  • Trademark holders
  • Registered businesses
  • Public Bodies (as these cannot be trademark holders, but effectively do hold trademarks

Only names directly relevant to the trademark, or company name can be registered at this point, and clear rules will be provided on how to determine what is relevant and what is not.


Landrush is where the names are available to the general public for the first time. A number of alternative approaches have been used for this stage by other registries, including:

  • Names allocated on a first come, first served basis
  • Fixed period, and then allocated by lottery
  • Fixed period, and then allocated by auction where contention exists

General Release

Following Sunrise and Landrush, the names will then be available on general release. The names will be available for registration via accredited Registrars for anything between one and ten years.