Following up on issues raised at the Prague meeting held in June, ICANN has announced plans to evaluate all of the new gTLD applications in a single batch, with all of the results becoming available around a June/July 2013 timeframe.
Digital archery was the system planned for placing new gTLD applicants into “batches” based on how close they came to shooting a “digital arrow” at a specified time. The suspension of the system on June 23 left many unanswered questions about how ICANN was going to evaluate the more than 1,900 new gTLD applications it received and then release the results. With an evaluation plan now in place, ICANN is turning its attention to the issue of how these new gTLD strings will go live and be added to the root zone.
ICANN will be accepting community input on the issue of delegation until August 12. The organization made clear that it does not intend to delegate more than 1,000 new gTLD strings to the root zone in a given year and that the delegation process must be “smooth” (i.e., not releasing 1,000 new gTLD strings on a single day). This eventual process will have enormous effects not only on the new gTLD registries, but also on brand owner strategies for registering names (offensively and defensively) during Sunrise periods.
ICANN has provided the community with three possible solutions to the delegation question:
1) Timing of the release of evaluation results to applicants
2) Timing of the release of applications into the pre-delegation steps of contract execution and pre-delegation testing
3) Metering of delegations of new gTLDs into the root zone
Comments on the delegation process can be emailed to ICANN at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
For brand owners whose applications will pass evaluation fairly easily, they can now mark next summer on their calendars as a target date for approval of their gTLDs.
In separate but related news, ICANN also announced the opening of an online inventory of Government Advisory Committee (GAC) advice. The GAC, which is comprised of governments and governmental organizations from more than 120 countries, provide advice to the ICANN Board on policy issues that may intersect with issues of public policy. This online catalogue contains all GAC correspondence and any responses from the Board through May 2012. You can access the information via the GAC website.