Good news for new gTLD applicants?
ICANN appears to be assuming that the vast majority of applications will pass their evaluations and make it at least as far as pre-delegation testing, judging from recent comments.
Of the 1,400-odd unique strings being applied for, ICANN reckons that “close to the maximum” will need to be tested before being added to the DNS root.
The hint came in a Q&A with respondents to ICANN’s pre-delegation testing provider RFP published yesterday.
With added emphasis, here’s what ICANN just said:
Question 7: Can ICANN provide a definitive statement of the anticipated minimum number of pre-delegation tests?
The total number of applied-for strings that will be approved is unknown at this point. Therefore, we cannot assert the minimum number of registries to be tested but only the maximum: 1,400. We expect that the actual numbers of registries tested should be close to the maximum.
It’s a positive sign for applicants, but there are obviously some big unknowns in the process, most notably Governmental Advisory Committee interventions, which are a little under a week away.
On the negative side, ICANN seems to be digging its heels in on the number of pre-delegation tests that will be required, despite recent requests from applicants to streamline the process:
Question 17: Is it possible to execute a single test per Back-End Registry Service Provider (as this would limit the requirement to about 80 such tests)?
The AGB [Applicant Guidebook] specifies one Pre-Delegation Test per Registry Operator (contracted party to ICANN).
This appears to mean that multiple applications using Verisign or Afilias, for example, as their back-ends will have to be individually tested, despite possible duplicative work.