In ICANN’s world, the current new top-level domains application period is actually the fourth, not the first.
As well as the 2000 “proof of concept” round, there was the sponsored gTLD round that kicked off at the end of 2003, and the ongoing IDN ccTLD Fast Track round from 2009.
I’ve finally got around to uploading to YouTube the video of the November 16, 2000 ICANN board meeting at which .info, .biz, .name, .pro, .museum, .coop and .aero were approved.
It was a pivotal moment in the history of the domain name system, particularly starting at the 5:46 mark, when the tide turned against Afilias’ application for .web, in favor of the less attractive four-character .info.
The main reason for the switch was Image Online Design’s competing application. IOD had been running .web in an alternate root for a few years before applying to ICANN.
If the internet had had a .web for the last decade, I believe conversations we’re having about new gTLDs would be very different today.
With .web expected to be a contested gTLD this time around — perhaps by some of the same companies that applied last time — expect this 11-year-old ICANN board meeting to be cited regularly in the near future.
The video was recorded by the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard and encoded in RealPlayer format, which in 2000 meant pretty poor-quality audio and video.