ICANN, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN /ˈaɪkæn/ EYE-kan), is a non-profit entity that governs domain name registries, makes policies regarding top-level domain names, and maintains registries of Internet Protocol identifiers. It is a California Nonprofit Public-Benefit Corporation.

What Does ICANN Do?

ICANN is responsible for coordinating the maintenance and procedures of several databases related to the namespaces of the Internet, ensuring the network’s stable and secure operation.

To reach another person on the Internet you have to type an address into your computer: a domain name or an IP number. That address must be unique so computers know where to find each other. ICANN coordinates these unique identifiers across the world. Without that coordination, we wouldn’t have one global Internet.

In more technical terms, ICANN helps coordinate the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) functions, which are key technical services critical to the continued operations of the Internet’s underlying address book, the Domain Name System (DNS).

The IANA functions include:

(1) the coordination of the assignment of technical protocol parameters including the management of the address and routing parameter area (ARPA) top-level domain;

(2) the administration of certain responsibilities associated with Internet DNS root zone management such as generic (gTLD) and country code (ccTLD) Top-Level Domains;

(3) the allocation of Internet numbering resources; and

(4) other services.

ICANN performs the actual technical maintenance work of the Central Internet Address pools and DNS root zone registries pursuant to the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) function contract. The contract regarding the IANA stewardship functions between ICANN and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) of the United States Department of Commerce ended on October 1, 2016, formally transitioning the functions to the global multistakeholder community.

Much of its work has concerned the Internet’s global Domain Name System (DNS), including policy development for internationalization of the DNS system, introduction of new generic top-level domains (TLDs), and the operation of root name servers. The numbering facilities ICANN manages include the Internet Protocol address spaces for IPv4 and IPv6 and assignment of address blocks to regional Internet registries. ICANN also maintains registries of Internet Protocol identifiers.

ICANN’s primary principles of operation have been described as helping preserve the operational stability of the Internet; to promote competition; to achieve broad representation of the global Internet community; and to develop policies appropriate to its mission through bottom-up, consensus-based processes.




Section 1.1. MISSION

(a) The mission of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (“ICANN“) is to ensure the stable and secure operation of the Internet’s unique identifier systems as described in this Section 1.1(a) (the “Mission“). Specifically, ICANN:

(i) Coordinates the allocation and assignment of names in the root zone of the Domain Name System (“DNS“) and coordinates the development and implementation of policies concerning the registration of second-level domain names in generic top-level domains (“gTLDs“). In this role, ICANN‘s scope is to coordinate the development and implementation of policies:

  • For which uniform or coordinated resolution is reasonably necessary to facilitate the openness, interoperability, resilience, security and/or stability of the DNS including, with respect to gTLDregistrars and registries, policies in the areas described in Annex G-1 and Annex G-2; and
  • That are developed through a bottom-up consensus-based multistakeholder process and designed to ensure the stable and secure operation of the Internet’s unique names systems.

The issues, policies, procedures, and principles addressed in Annex G-1 and Annex G-2 with respect to gTLD registrars and registries shall be deemed to be within ICANN‘s Mission.

(ii) Facilitates the coordination of the operation and evolution of the DNS root name server system.

(iii) Coordinates the allocation and assignment at the top-most level of Internet Protocol numbers and Autonomous System numbers. In service of its Mission, ICANN (A) provides registration services and open access for global number registries as requested by the Internet Engineering Task Force (“IETF“) and the Regional Internet Registries (“RIRs“) and (B) facilitates the development of global number registry policies by the affected community and other related tasks as agreed with the RIRs.

(iv) Collaborates with other bodies as appropriate to provide registries needed for the functioning of the Internet as specified by Internet protocol standards development organizations. In service of its Mission, ICANN‘s scope is to provide registration services and open access for registries in the public domain requested by Internet protocol development organizations.

ICANN Headquarters

ICANN was created on September 18, 1998, and incorporated on September 30, 1998, in the U.S. state of California. It is headquartered in the Playa Vista neighborhood of Los Angeles.

The ICANN Headquarters are at:
12025 Waterfront Drive, Suite 300
Los Angeles, CA 90094-2536, USA

Phone: +1 310 301 5800
Fax: +1 310 823 8649

ICANN 2017 Tax Filing Sheds Light on Employee Compensation

ICANN has published its tax return (pdf) for FY 2017, which ended in June of 2017.

ICANN’s tax return includes salaries and total compensation of many of the non-profit’s top employees.

The 2016 Fiscal Year return lists 20 employees with total comp of $367,000 or more. This includes retirement contributions (ICANN chips in 5% of salary to the 401(k) and matches up to 10%) and nontaxable benefits.

159 people received at least $100,000 of reportable income. That’s about the same as the prior year.