Tens of thousands of dollars worth of registry secret sauce is set to be released under a Creative Commons license on a new wiki, courtesy of the International Telecommunications Union.
Applying for a new generic top-level domain could be about to get a whole lot cheaper.
Before October, the ITU plans to publish template answers to all 22 of the questions about registry technical operations demanded by ICANN’s Applicant Guidebook.
Because they will be published under a Creative Commons license, new gTLD applicants will be able to copy and paste the whole lot into their applications for free.
And because they will be on a wiki, approved contributors will be able to fine-tune the templates to increase their chances of passing ICANN’s technical evaluation.
Currently, gTLD applicants are generally paying registry back-end providers to take care of this part of their applications, paying $10,000 and up for the privilege.
I think the word that applies here is “disruptive”.
Consultant and former ICANN board member Michael Palage, who has worked on a number of previous TLD launches, is coordinating the creation of the templates with input from registries and engineers.
The resulting “best in class” material will also be used by the ITU and the League of Arab States in their bid for .arab and its Arabic equivalent, .عرب.
According to the Guidebook, applicants do not need hands-on experience running a registry in order to have their application approved. ICANN is trying to enable competition, after all.
But there is a period of pre-delegation testing that each successful applicant must endure before their new gTLD is added to the root, so a simple copy-paste of the ITU’s templates will not suffice.
I doubt this project will take a great deal of money out of the pockets of the incumbent registries – well-funded applicants will presumably be happy to pay the extra money for certainty – but it will provide a bit of flexibility for applicants not already in bed with a back-end.
It could also help open up the new gTLD market to companies that may not have otherwise considered it, such as those in the developing world.
Indeed, part of the rationale for the Creative Commons publication is to aid with “capacity building” in these nations, according to an ITU presentation delivered in Cairo this week.
We’ve already seen pricing competition hit the registry services market in the wake of the approval of the new gTLD program, now it appears we’re seeing the dawn of “free”.