New gTLD Progress Report; Are You Confused?

Don’t worry, you’re not alone.

I recently had a question from a new gTLD applicant who is facing no contention but feels that all the information being put out by ICANN only serves to confuse people more. I tried to summarize the best and worse case scenarios related to where their application stands. After going through that process, I realized that the message is generally applicable to many applicants today (who are not facing contention), so I’ve modified it a bit and am posting it here.

When Will Your Application Go Live?

That’s a reasonable question. I know how hard it can be to navigate ICANN. In a sentence or two… The best case scenario is that you’ll have your new gTLD live and working between May and August of 2013. The worse case scenario is that the process could be blocked by legal or government objections for several years. Here is a more detailed breakdown with benchmarks at a very basic level:

Objective/End Result:

1. A New gTLD Contract is executed between you and ICANN, and…
2. Your TLD is “delegated” to the root (of the Internet) meaning the gTLD goes live and is in your control.

Your Situation Now:

  1. ICANN has stated that no contracts will occur before the March 2013 ICANN meeting.
  2. You have passed the Administrative Checks
  3. You have passed the DNS Stability test (all apps have passed)
  4. You have received no Early Warnings from ICANN’s Government Advisory Committee (GAC)
  5. You have no obvious String Similarity Issues, subject to ICANN’s evaluation which should be released very soon (a recent progress report said November 2012)
  6. You have no obvious Geographic Name Similarities, subject to ICANN’s evaluation which should be released very soon (a recent progress report said November 2012)

Best Case Scenario Moving Forward

  1. On Dec 17, the priority drawing comes out in your favor (let’s say less than 500 or so)
  2. In Feb. or so, you pass the Background Screening
  3. In Feb. or so, you pass the Registry Services Screening
  4. You receive no Public Objections related to String Confusion, Legal Rights, Limited Public Interest, or Community You receive no negative GAC Advice
  5. Between March and August, you pass the Financial Evaluation
  6. Between March and August, you pass the Technical & Operational Evaluation
  7. Between March and August, you execute a contract with ICANN
  8. No lawsuits are filed that extend the process
  9. Between March and August, your gTLD is delegated to the root of the Internet and goes live.

Possible Worst Case Scenarios

Worst case scenarios include the opposites of what you see above, which can either stop the application or add 12 to 18 months to the process of getting your new gTLD working. Subject to the results of the drawing on the 17th, many applications could see something much closer to the Best Case Scenario and get their gTLD(s) working by the middle or end of 2013.

These are just my opinions. I’m sure I’ve missed some possibilities but my view is that things are going well so far for many applications. I hope this is helpful.

About Joe Alagna

Joe Alagna is a Director of Business Development at the leading Registry Service Provider, Afilias. He is an expert in all aspects of the domain name business, including domain name investing, new gTLDs, registrars, and registries. Before the domain name business, he negotiated national accounts contracts for AT&T Wireless. Joe can be reached by phone at +1 (909) 606-9175 or via email using the contact form on this site.
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