ICANN publishes batching timetable


The organisation overseeing the new gTLD programme has targeted December 2012 as the date for finally resolving how to create batches of applications.

Owing to technical limitations, ICANN can delegate only 1,000 gTLDs on to the Internet in a year. It has received around 1,930 applications, of which about 750 are contested, and must place in order those that pass the initial evaluation stage. This process has begun and is expected to finish in June 2013. 

ICANN was forced to scrap the ‘digital archery’ batching system in June this year following protests by applicants. At the time, it wanted to evaluate applications in batches of 500 but has now begun reviewing them as a single group. It must still create a mechanism for processing the evaluated applications.

Under a “tentative” timetable, ICANN will be hosting interactive discussions, probably webinars, until October 1, it said in a statement on its website. On October 6, staff will submit a briefing paper to the board outlining suggestions for batching applications. 

Applicants and interested parties have already submitted 101 public comments proposing ways of resolving the issue. Some of the suggestions included prioritising internationalised domain names (those in non-Latin alphabets), branded TLDs or those that do not require further evaluation in June 2013.

There will be further discussions with applicants—particularly during ICANN’s meeting in Toronto, Canada (October 14 to 18)—until November 11. Then, until November 26, staff will begin developing the proposals before submitting a second briefing paper to the board on December 10. 

Board members will vote on this paper, which will address applicants’ suggestions, and the implications and risks for them, on December 18. From December 19 to January 18, 2013, ICANN will implement the system. 

Some brands, particularly those whose rivals have applied for a gTLD, want to use their new domain as quickly as possible, and will want ICANN to process it promptly. “Brands are concerned about being lost in the clutter,” said Roland LaPlante, chief marketing officer at Afilias, the registry operator for domains including .mobi and .info.

“They would rather be early and get their brand TLD established so they can learn quickly and get even further ahead of the competition. Being late will make them seem like a ‘me too’ instead of the visionary innovator they are hoping to be seen as.”

LaPlante said ICANN “has its hands full” trying to manage the competing interests. The organisation expects to begin delegating the new domains in late 2013.

This article was first published on 14 September 2012 in World IP Review

gTLDs, batching timetable, ICANN, domain names

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