Yesterday, ICANN’s Senior Vice President of Stakeholder Relations Kurt Pritz held the second in a series of webinars to update new gTLD applicants on the current status of the program. Among the topics discussed were current application statistics, application comments and change requests, and the issues of application batching and metering.
Application and Comment Statistics
Thus far, ICANN has received seven requests to withdraw applications for certain new gTLD strings. Of the seven, four have been fully processed and withdrawn. Three were originally submitted by Google for the strings .AND, .ARE, and .EST, all of which are protected three letter country codes for Andorra, the United Arab Emirates, and Estonia. The other was a brand application submitted by KSB Aktiengesellschaft for the string .KSB. There have been more than 6,600 application comments posted through ICANN’s new gTLD comment forum. The deadline to submit your comments and have them considered during the application and GAC evaluations is September 26, 2012.
Evaluation Update and Clarifying Questions
Five hundred-and-eighty-five of the submitted applications have gone through string similarity reviews, 141 have gone through financial reviews, and 127 have gone through technical and operational reviews. ICANN is also finishing up its pilot program that was intended to gauge the effectiveness of application clarifying questions. They expect evaluators to begin sending out the clarifying questions some time in December.
Application Change Requests
There have been 57 requests submitted for changes to be made to some aspect of new gTLD application. ICANN has now implemented a process for submitting and evaluating any application change requests. You can find further information, along with a copy of the form, here. Those who have already submitted a request to make a change to an application will not have to resubmit their request using this form. Once the changes go through evaluation and approval, they will be posted for public comments, unless the change was made to a portion of the confidential information in the application.
ICANN plans to hold a public discussion on Wednesday, September 12, to further discuss the issues of application batching and delegation. It’s unknown at this time what the platform for this discussion will be, but remote participation seems likely. During the latest public comment period regarding these issues, ICANN received 101 comments. Some of those who submitted comments requested that brand owner applications and those running closed registries be given some priority during this phase. This is a topic that we will continue to monitor as it could have implications for brand owner applicants.
Are you satisfied with the level of communication from ICANN about the status of the new gTLD evaluation process?