ICANN’s effort to squeeze out a process for approving new top-level domains has been about as easy and painless as giving birth, so it perhaps appropriate that it now expects to take at least nine months to gestate the very easiest applications.
The new version of the Applicant Guidebook, published Saturday, makes a number of changes to the expected new TLDs timetable, including the addition of an extra month to the minimum likely processing time for non-controversial strings.
This is not, as you might think, a result of the new objection powers granted to the Governmental Advisory Committee.
(UPDATE: On closer analysis, it appears that the timetable has in fact been rejiggered in order to give more time to the GAC’s Early Warning mechanism. Thanks to Mike, in the comments, for the correction.)
The Administrative Check part – the bit where ICANN goes through the applications to make sure they’ve all been correctly filed – that has been extended, from four weeks to eight.
ICANN has also shortened the first-round application-filing window by a month, to 60 days, off-setting the extended processing time.
New TLDs may start entering the root around the same time they were previously expected.
The timetable for the launch of new TLDs now looks a little like this:
June 20 – Applicant Guidebook approved in Singapore.
July-October 2011 – four-month communication/outreach period.
November-December 2011 – first-round application window
October 2012 – first new TLDs delegated to DNS root.
The new Guidebook advises applicants to avoid waiting to the last minute to file their applications, due to the complexity of the new TLD Application System (TAS) it’s created.
Given the application period is likely to end shortly after the end of year holiday period, I expect applicants will have plenty of impetus to get their applications in early without encouragement.