By Adrian Kinderis
So after the initial reaction and “over-reaction” by some folks in the audience, I have been thinking about the implications of the ICANN resolution on new gTLDs at its Board meeting in Cartagena, Colombia.
In short, the resolution and subsequent comments by the chair, Peter Dengate-Thrush have shown that there is positive momentum with respect to the program overall. “We have reached a turning point in the new gTLD program” he said.
I believe we have.
The new gTLD resolution indicates that much of the work has been completed and explicitly states those areas of the AGB that are left for further discussion. This is a massive step forward as many of these issues could be argued indefinitely with very little change (as we have seen!). Clear direction was required and provided.
Issues around Trademark Protection are considered locked away. Good news.
Root Scaling. Done.
Economic Studies and potential impacts. Review complete.
What remains now are a few narrow topics to resolve. This won’t be an easy task as they are quite prickly, especially those around morality and public order (Recommendation 6), however the resolution has also paved the way in which they will be addressed. Staff have been instructed to continue their work with vigour and the Government Advisory Committee (GAC) will meet with the ICANN Board in February 2011, prior to the March ICANN Meeting in San Francisco, with the clear intention of having EVERYTHING locked away for a launch at this meeting. Once again, this is good news.
The only concern I have is that I am not sure I am completely comfortable with the ICANN Board and GAC meeting behind closed doors. Hopefully their results will be transparent and comments allowed, however we’ll have to wait and see.
Finally, the impact to timelines has not been addressed nor, potentially, calculated. ICANN recently asked staff to prepare for a May 2011 launch, but no comment or adjustment to this has been made to date. It was not referenced in the resolution. It is my hope that the timelines won’t be impacted by today’s resolutions, however I will work with the AusRegistry International team to draw up a few potential scenarios and get them posted here as soon as I can. The biggest factor is ICANN’s obligation to conduct a 4 month global communication campaign before the Application window can be opened. In my opinion, this can be started prior to final sign off of the Applicant Guidebook, especially as we now have many parts of the guidebook locked away. Regardless, AusRegistry International will use any delays to get in front of more clients, enhance our offering and prepare the applications. We have much to do in hopefully, too little time!
I will leave Cartagena a little battle weary. There have been many long hours spent at the meetings and many long nights socialising and enjoying this vibrant city.
I may be tired, but I am happy with the progress made here… I haven’t been able to say that walking away from an ICANN meeting for a while.