Sponsored top-level domain

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A sponsored top-level domain (sTLD) is one of the categories of top-level domains (TLDs) maintained by the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) for use in the Domain Name System of the Internet, alongside[1] country-code top-level domains (ccTLD) and generic top-level domains (gTLD) .

A sponsored TLD is a specialized top-level domain that has a sponsor representing a specific community served by the domain. The communities involved are based on ethnic, geographical, professional, technical or other theme concepts proposed by private agencies or organizations that establish and enforce rules restricting the eligibility of registrants to use the TLD.

Generally speaking, a sponsored TLD is a specialized TLD that has a sponsor representing the narrower community that is most affected by the TLD, while an unsponsored TLD operates under policies established by the global Internet community directly through the ICANN process.[2] For example, the .aero TLD is sponsored by SITA, which limits registrations to members of the air transport industry.

TLD Eligibility Sponsors
.aero Members of the air-transport industry SITA
.asia Companies, organisations and individuals in the Asia-Pacific region DotAsia Organisation
.cat Catalan linguistic and cultural community Fundació puntCat
.coop Cooperative associations DotCooperation LLC
.edu US Institutions of higher education Educause
.gov United States government, states and local governments Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (an independent agency of the US government)
.int International treaty-based organisations Internet Assigned Numbers Authority
.jobs Human resource managers Since 2005: IANA states that the sponsoring organization is Employ Media LLC[3] (private company), but also presents a delegation report that states Employ Media LLC is a registry, and the sponsoring organization is The Society for Human Resource Management[4] (nonprofit organization)
.mil US Military entities Defense Information Systems Agency (US government)
.museum Museums Museum Domain Management Association
.post Postal services Universal Postal Union
.tel For businesses and individuals to publish contact data Since 2008: Telnic Limited[5]

Since 2017: Telnames Limited[6] (private company)

.travel Travel agents, airlines, hoteliers, tourism bureaus, etc. Since 2005: Registry is Tralliance Corporation,[7] who was in some arrangement with The Travel Partnership Corporation,[7]: III.1.g  but no mention in contracts of who is the "sponsor".

Since 2015: Registry is Tralliance Registry Management Company, LLC[8]
Since 2018: Registry is Dog Beach, LLC[9]
Since 2020: Registry is Donuts Inc.[10] (private company)

.xxx Pornographic sites ICM Registry

ICANN only applied the term sponsored TLD to TLDs in the first two rounds of new gTLDs. It did not use the distinction between sponsored and unsponsored for new gTLDs in the 2012 round.[11]


As of 2015, IANA distinguishes the following groups of top-level domains:[12]


  1. ^ "Root Zone Database". Internet Assigned Numbers Authority.
  2. ^ "Top-Level Domains (gTLDs)". ICANN Archives.
  3. ^ "Delegation Record for .JOBS". 2005-09-08. Retrieved 2021-02-13.
  4. ^ "IANA Report on the Delegation of the .JOBS Top-Level Domain". 2005-08-31. Retrieved 2021-02-13.
  5. ^ "Delegation Record for .TEL". IANA. 2007-03-02. Archived from the original on 2008-11-21.
  6. ^ ".tel Registry Agreement". ICANN. 2016-12-01. Retrieved 2021-02-13. Effective 28 February 2017, the Registry Agreement was assigned by Telnic Limited to Telnames Limited
  7. ^ a b ".travel Registry Agreement". 2005-05-05. Retrieved 2021-02-13.
  8. ^ ".travel Registry Agreement". 2015-10-09. Registry Agreement. Retrieved 2021-02-13.
  9. ^ ".travel Registry Agreement". 2018-02-12. Assignment and Assumption Agreement. Retrieved 2021-02-13.
  10. ^ ".travel Registry Agreement". 2020-06-01. Amendment No.3. Retrieved 2021-02-13.
  11. ^ "Frequently Asked Questions on new gTLDs". ICANN.org.
  12. ^ "IANA root zone database". Iana.org. Retrieved 2015-11-10.