ICANN has published a preliminary schedule for its first new gTLD contention set auctions, which would see the first batch hit the block on June 4 this year.
The plan is now to sell off roughly 20 strings every month, with the last lot going under the hammer in March 2015, a full year from now.
Each contention set, of which there are 233, has been allocated to a batch, ordered by the applicants with the best position in the prioritization queue governing all aspects of the new gTLD program.
But each batch is filled with sets that have either already been resolved or which are currently “ineligible” for auction for one reason or another.
Ineligible contention sets are those that include an application that has, for example, an outstanding change request or a piece of unresolved Governmental Advisory Committee advice.
For example, the 12 applications for .app are scheduled for a July auction, but none of them are going anywhere until the GAC advice against the string goes away.
Naturally enough, ICANN says it’s a preliminary schedule that is subject to a lot of change.
Applicants in contention sets may nevertheless draw comfort from the fact that these auctions finally seem to have firm dates. The auctions were originally slated to start this month.