David Goldstein - Next Round of New gTLD Applications A Few Years Away... At Least


    The next round of applications for new gTLDs is not coming anytime soon. In response to concerns raised by ICANN’s Registry Stakeholder Group (RySG), ICANN Chair Stephen Crocker said there is plenty of work to be done first. The RySG suggested “setting a date for the next application window will provide certainty for ICANN the organization and potential applicants alike, but also ensure that all work efforts are completed in a timely manner.” The RySG also believes “the fourth quarter 2018 should be the target date for the next application window.”

    But Crocker wrote there is plenty of work to be done first, and that the actual date isn’t up to the ICANN Board but rather the community itself. Prior to any dates being set, Crocker writes first 4 reviews need to take place. The reviews, the first 3 of which have been completed are on the:

    • effects of the New gTLD Program on the operations of the DNS root system
    • trademark clearinghouse
    • Uniform Rapid Suspension (URS) system
    • impact of the New gTLD Program on competition, consumer trust, and consumer choice.

    There’s also the Subsequent Procedures PDP Working Group that’s working to determine how additional gTLDs will be introduced. The last of the reviews and the PDP are still underway. “Once the community completes its work”, Crocker writes, “the Board will consider the community’s recommendations to introduce additional new gTLDs.” Crocker also writes that the Board setting a date would “contravene the multi-stakeholder process that allows for the community to have the necessary discussions to arrive at consensus, and to determine the timing of their own work.”

    So there’s plenty of work to be done. “Full implementation can’t begin until after the Board considers the policy recommendations. There also needs to be adequate time for ICANN org to operationally prepare once the requirements in the Applicant Guidebook are finalized, and for communication and outreach about the application process.”

    According to a report in Domain Incite, all this work means the opening of the next round could be a few years away. At least. “ICANN’s most recent estimates for the opening of the next round would see applications accepted in 2020, eight years after the last round,” concluded Domain Incite.