There are now 290 registered users of ICANN’s Top-Level Domain Application System, according to the organization.
As before, there’s not a one-to-one mapping of TAS accounts to gTLD applications, because each account can hold up to 50 applications.
It’s difficult to estimate how many individual gTLD applications these 290 slots represent, but I expect it could be easily double that number.
Many attendees at ICANN 43 in Costa Rica last week were expecting a last-minute rush of TAS registrations over the next 10 days before ICANN closes the doors to new registrants.
Big brands are expected to be among the last to sign up for their TAS accounts, but perhaps not for the reasons you might think.
In order to sign up for a TAS account, you have to answer the first handful of basic Applicant Guidebook questions by including the contact details of the applying entity and its officers.
For many organizations, getting this information has apparently caused difficulties internally – directors of large public companies for example don’t want to hand over their home addresses, even though ICANN has promised not to publish them.
Despite all the other controversies, vagaries and uncertainties in the Guidebook, simply confirming the name of the applicant is turning out to be a big problem for some applicants.
Some likely applicants are therefore likely to set up a shell LLC or two, along with a bunch of straw-men officers, before registering with TAS.
This, according to consultants and registries, is one of the major reasons ICANN might see a last-minute rush of applicants shortly before the March 29 registration deadline.