Digital Archery Terminated
Digital Archery, ICANN’s solution to assign gTLD application to evaluation batches has been terminated. After numerous critical open letters to ICANN and inconsistent testing results, the procedure was initially suspended on 23 June 2012. Digital Archery would have closed on 28 June.
Now ICANN has terminated the Digital Archery process to provide conclusiveness to the community on the status of the Digital Archery process. However it still remains unclear how ICANN will continue processing New gTLD applications and when the first gTLDs will go live.
ICANN has restricted itself to a maximum of 1.000 gTLD delegations a year. With 1.930 application and theoretically 1,409 unique new gTLDs ICANN has to stretch applications. Extended Evaluation and some of the Rights Protection Mechanisms (RPMs) such as the Objection Period will delay some applications but it is reasonable to assume this will not suffice.
With no batching at all, many application are going to launch later. A single batch isn't necessarily a drawback for applicants since it reduces time-to-market inequalities. New gTLD applications such as .buy, .sale, .shopping, .store (and possibly .deal, .deals, .coupon, .coupons) sometimes have multiple applicants but target the same registrants. A 5 to 10 month delay for a TLD launch has the potential to entomb an application when delayed with no registration revenue, rising marketing costs and registrants already snatched by the competition. This may apply for .law, .lawyer, .legal, .associates, .attorney, .esq, .abogado but also .green, .bio, .eco. and many more.
The earliest date ICANN has provided at the Reveal Day press conference when the first new gTLDs domain name registrations could be executed was the first quarter 2013. Currently this schedule is unlikely to succeed.
After the TAS glitch, ICANN is again under pressure to find a solution that
- is technically feasible
- is not susceptible to gaming,
- does not constitute a lottery,
- does not blow ICANN’s schedule
and most importantly does not fail again.