ICANN’s new top-level domains Applicant Guidebook is unlikely to get its final approval at ICANN’s March meeting, according to the senior staffer responsible for the program.
Senior vice president of stakeholder relations Kurt Pritz, who gave the keynote at today’s .nxt conference, later told me the Guidebook “probably won’t be approved in San Francisco”.
But impatient new TLD applicants may not have to wait too long afterward for the Guidebook to get the nod and the program to launch.
Pritz said that the Guidebook, currently in a “Proposed Final” version, will likely be revised following ICANN’s upcoming talks with its Governmental Advisory Committee.
But whatever emerges from the GAC consultation will not necessarily be opened for public comment, which would add a month or two of delay to the process. That will be for the board to decide.
Pritz indicated that the community needs to understand that one day ICANN will produce a version of the Guidebook that will be for voting, not commenting.
That’s likely to come sooner rather than later.
It seems to me to be quite likely that a version of the Guidebook emerging in the weeks following San Francisco will be submitted straight to the ICANN board of directors for approval.
During his keynote, which he gave following ICANN CEO Rod Beckstrom’s unexpected eleventh-hour cancellation, Pritz said he wanted “to reset expectations and what I think our job is going forward”.
“Public discussion needs to turn to: should we launch the new gTLD process or should we not?” he said during his remarks.
The keynote was upbeat, talking about the Guidebook being a “road map”, not a series of “road blocks”.
Referring to the recently relaunched .me and .co country-code TLDs, which have been successfully marketed as generic TLDs, Pritz said:
To a certain extent new TLDs are already off and running. There’s a first mover advantage there, so the rest of us need to catch up.