Seeking to reduce the perceived need for defensive new gTLD applications, ICANN has repeated its promise to accept a second round of applications after the first is over.
“ICANN is committed to opening a second application window for the New gTLD Program as expeditiously as possible,” its board of directors resolved earlier this week.
No date has been revealed, but the resolution calls on ICANN staff to draft a “work plan” describing the things that need to happen before the second round begins.
Those include two or three reviews of the impact of the first round that ICANN has promised to its Governmental Advisory Committee and the US Department of Commerce.
It also depends to great extent on how many applications are submitted in the first round – which ICANN won’t know until April 12 – and how long they take to process.
The lack of a second round date is one of the big uncertainties hanging over the program, blamed in part for an expected influx of “defensive” dot-brand gTLD applications from companies with no interest in running a domain name registry.
ICANN’s commitment to a second round has never been in question – running the new gTLD program in rounds has been part of the policy from the outset, as the Applicant Guidebook explains. The only question is when it happens.
This week’s board resolution does not change that position, nor has it yet added clarity to the timing question.
ICANN chair Steve Crocker said in a press release:
The important thing here is that the Board has erased any doubt that there will be a second application window for new generic Top-Level Domains. It’s not yet possible to set a definitive date for the next application period, but that will be determined after the current window closes.