I’ve got the official line from ICANN — it’s possible that the final Applicant Guidebook for new top-level domain applications could be approved as early as December.
I reported late last night that, following its weekend board retreat, the final version of ICANN’s new TLD rulebook would be published before its public meeting in Cartagena, Colombia.
This morning, based on some reader comments and a closer reading of the board’s latest resolutions, I concluded that there was a pretty good chance I was wrong, so I asked ICANN for clarification.
I essentially asked whether we were looking at another six months of pondering Draft Applicant Guidebook version 5, or whether the next iteration would be the final one.
This is the official ICANN spokesperson line:
The next guidebook to be posted for public comment will be called the “next version” of the applicant guidebook – depending on public comment, the Board will decide whether to approve it as final (with changes) or request another iteration.
As stated above, the Board could consider approving the next version of the Guidebook as early as the Cartagena meeting or set a timeline for approval sometime thereafter.
So, there’s the answer: it depends.
Frankly, given the number and gravity of the unresolved issues on the table, I think Cartagena may be optimistic. But it’s not impossible.