ICANN has cut the anticipated length of its “last resort” new gTLD auctions in half, last night publishing a schedule that would take 10 months and end in early 2015.
The draft schedule and auction rules, put together by selected auctioneer Power Auctions, would see 10 monthly batches of auctions, with 20 contention sets resolved per month.
The revised rules, which are open for public comment, read:
It is anticipated that Auctions will be conducted once per month to resolve 20 Contention Sets per Auction, with the intention to complete all Auctions within one (1) year from the date of the first Auction.
It’s still anticipated that auctions will begin in March 2014.
That’s a lot better for applicants than the original plan, which was to limit each applicant to only five auctions per month. Due to Donuts’ large portfolio, that would have stretched the process out to April 2016.
An accompanying schedule (pdf) published last night actually batches up 201 of the remaining contested gTLDs into 10 buckets, so most applicants now know where they stand.
It’s good news for applicants that have high priority numbers but are in contention sets with applicants with low priority numbers — they’ll get bumped to the front of the queue.
For example, dot Buy Limited drew 1,883 in the prioritization lottery, but will be in the first monthly auction because it’s up against Amazon, with priority number 128, for .buy.
There’s still no news about how ICANN will handle indirect contention, however.
While the schedule has placed the likes of .unicom and .unicorn — which were found similar by evaluation panels — in the same auction, it does not yet reflect the results of objections that should (in theory) place different strings in the same contention set.