ICANN has finished evaluating more than 1,700 applications for generic top-level domains (gTLDs), in what has been described as a “major milestone”.
The organisation announced the news on August 30, adding that 32 bids require further review while 121 have been withdrawn.
“It would be an understatement to say we are excited to reach this point,” said Christine Willett, ICANN’s vice president of gTLD operations.
“Applicants worked hard on their applications and the evaluations were complex and rigorous. We are pleased that 90 percent of the original applications passed initial evaluation – this is a clear and distinct success.”
Not all of the successful 1,745 applications are ready to launch, as some are locked in trademark disputes while others must be separated on the grounds of being too similar.
Applications entering the extended evaluation phase, which is for bids that have failed initial evaluation, must be amended to correct outstanding deficiencies before they are re-evaluated.
The conclusion of initial evaluation is a major milestone, said Stuart Fuller, director of commercial operations and communications at NetNames, a brand protection firm.
“Delays have become a common theme for ICANN – an inevitability given the size and scope of the gTLD programme ... However, the delays are deceptive and whether you are applying for new gTLDs or not, it is crucial to have a domain name strategy and Trademark Clearinghouse submissions prepared.”
He added: “The focus for ICANN will now move on to testing and contract signing, as well as background work to resolve any domain name collisions. It is clear that with this ever moving target, preparation will prove to be key to implementing a successful and effective domain name strategy that takes advantage of the benefits that new gTLDs offer.”
There is no firm date for launching the first registries, but some are expected to open before the end of year, with the rest following early next year.
This article was first published on 02 September 2013 in World IP Review
initial evaluation, gtlds, extended evaluation, icann, Christine Willett