The March 29 and April 12 deadlines to register for and submit new gTLD applications are currently not open to negotiation, according to ICANN chair Steve Crocker.
“We don’t really have any indication of sufficient reasons to change the schedule,” Crocker said at a press conference here at ICANN’s public meeting in Costa Rica this afternoon.
“We have no proposals we are actively working on to cause it to be changed at the moment,” he said. “The message needs to be understood that the application window will close April 12.”
I asked about the possibility of an extension largely because almost every registry services provider and new gTLD consultant I’ve talked to recently is expecting a mad rush of new gTLD applicants.
There are only 17 days remaining for applicants to sign up for a TLD Application System account. After March 29, applicants then have two weeks to file and pay for their applications.
Despite these pressing deadlines, many potential applicants – including dot-brands and some geographic gTLDs – have yet to make their minds up about applying.
Other confirmed applicants still haven’t selected their partners – I heard today about a city gTLD with a tender offer closing March 20, just nine days before the sign-up deadline.
ICANN said today that it has 254 registered TAS users.
A last-minute stampede for application services seems likely. With a limited number of registry back-end providers and decent consultants on the market, we could see bottlenecks.
But it seems that the ICANN board — which is the only body that could extend the schedule — has no plans to do so presently.