Archive for May, 2012

ICANN TAS Window Closes – What’s next for Applicants?

Thursday, May 31st, 2012

By Tony Kirsch

It’s official.

After more than six grueling years of work for ICANN and the wider community, the new Top-Level Domain (TLD) application process finally closed a few hours ago.

ICANN’s Chief Operating Officer later advised the community in a release that just over 1900 applications had been submitted in the TAS with one hour remaining before the system closed (final numbers will be released on reveal day). This number of applicants falls within most industry estimates and shows significant demand as expected from across the globe.

However, it’s far from finished, with many months of review and public comment likely to dominate industry discussions and push our humble domain name industry further into prominence with the global media.

While the close of the application window marks a significant milestone, it’s now time to look forward to the next hurdles applicants will need to contend with. In particular, the ever important ‘Batching’ or ‘Digital Archery’ component to the program seems to be the next topic of interest for TLD applicants as they vie for the rights to be evaluated before others.

Only moments after the application window closed, ICANN published two fact sheets (What to Expect Next and New gTLDs: Trending Topics) to provide further details on the timing of critical milestones applicants will be working towards over the next few months. The fact sheets followed a brief update to the timeline ICANN published the day before.
Based on these materials, below is a summary of the key dates ICANN is targeting with the new timeline:

30 May 2012     Application window closes

8 June 2012       Batching process begins

13 June 2012     Reveal Day, Application comment period begins & Formal objection period begins

28 June 2012     Batching process ends

11 July 2012       Batching results announced

12 July 2012       Initial evaluation begins

12 August 2012  Application comment period ends

Dec 12/Jan 13     Results of initial evaluation published (We assume this is only for the first batch)

Dec 12/Jan 13     Pre-delegation, extended evaluation & string contention processes begin (We assume this is only for the first batch)

Early 2013            Uncontested strings in the first batch that pass the evaluation process will be ready to go live and enter the root in early 2013

This latest update from ICANN provides valuable information that will allow applicants to plan for the next important milestones within the program. While I welcome this update and any additional representation of progress from ICANN, there are still areas of uncertainty that require urgent clarification. 

For instance, ICANN has yet to provide specific details about how the digital archery and batching process will work even though we are only a week out from the start of the process. Other question marks on the seemingly minimal progress made to date with the vital Trademark Clearinghouse and the Uniform Rapid Suspension components of the program still remain, and are sure to be hot topics within the community.

On behalf of our new TLD applicants, ARI Registry Services is sending a team of senior domain name industry experts to the ICANN Prague meeting from June 24-29, seeking to gather more clarity around these and other points of uncertainty within the program and timeline on behalf of our many customers across the globe.

Despite these topics that are yet to be clear, I think it’s worth taking a moment to at least celebrate today’s achievement.

Now for the next phase…

By Tony Kirsch
Senior Manager – International Business Development
ARI Registry Services

TAS reopens & ICANN provides more clarity for new TLD applicants

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012

By Tony Kirsch

Following more than a month of delays with the TAS interruption in the new Top-Level Domain program, this week has seen ICANN take some positive steps to restore confidence in the program and we can now see a glimmer of light at the end of a long tunnel.

It all started when ICANN CEO Rod Beckstrom broke the news yesterday that the TAS had reopened early and the issues behind the notorious “glitch” had been resolved.

The early reopening of the TAS – which was scheduled to open later that day at 19:00 UTC 22 May 2012 – demonstrates that ICANN understands the need to progress forward with the program as quickly as possible.

In another show of confidence, ICANN held a Twitter chat session this morning (19:30 UTC 22 May 2012) during which CEO Rod Beckstrom and his staff answered questions about the new TLD program and the issues with the TAS.

The key topics of discussion focused on when ICANN plans to host its reveal day, when the Digital Archery application batching system will open, and when the batches will be confirmed.

Below is a summary of key insights gained from the discussion:

• Digital Archery is scheduled to open before reveal day, remain open for approximately three weeks, and close after reveal day. ICANN will publish batches after the reveal day and after the digital archery process is complete
• An update on the new timeline will be published within four business days and will include the targeted reveal date (due by 29 May 2012).
• ICANN confirmed it is targeting to hold reveal date before the ICANN Prague meeting scheduled for 24 to 29 June 2012.

A transcript of the ICANN Twitter chat session can be found here.

All in all, this week has been one of progress for applicants in the new TLD program and we have gained some insight that has been sorely missing in recent times. From the information gleaned in the Twitter chat, we can now guess that:

• Digital Archery will commence mid June – possibly in the week commencing 18 June
• ICANN’s  reveal day could occur by the end of the week commencing 18 June
• Digital Archery will possibly close in the first week of July

We’ll have a much better idea of these milestone dates in the next few days as ICANN has committed to providing an update on the new timeline by 29 May 2012.

After weeks of uncertainty, it is pleasing to see ICANN making progress in the right direction.

By Tony Kirsch
Senior Manager – International Business Development