It’s official. ICANN’s board of directors has approved the widely derided “time target variance” procedure for batching new generic top-level domain applications.
It’s now being officially called “digital archery”.
The ICANN board met on Wednesday to vote in favor of the system, which was first outlined by senior VP Kurt Pritz at the Costa Rica meeting earlier this month.
Resolved (2012.03.28.01), the Board confirms the approval of secondary timestamp/digital archery as the mechanism for sorting new gTLD applications into batches, and directs that the operational details of the mechanism be communicated to applicants and the public as necessary and appropriate.
The digital archery system outlined in the resolution is pretty much identical to what Pritz described at ICANN 43.
New gTLD applicants will be asked to select a target time, then log into a special page of the TLD Application System to hit a “Submit” button as close to that time as possible.
The applicants whose clicks are recorded closest to the target time get to be in the first batch. ICANN will rotate through applicants from its five regions to avoid geographic bias.
There’ll also be an opt-out for those applicants for whom time to market is less important.
“The closer to zero the secondary timestamp is the more likely the application will be processed in the earliest batch, assuming the applicant has opted in to the earliest batch,” the resolution reads.
The system still appears to favor applicants skilled in drop-catching and other domainer disciplines.
Judging by screenshots released by ICANN today, there will be no Turing test (such as a CAPTCHA), which suggests that a scripted virtual “click” may be the best way to get a good timestamp.
It’s also not yet clear how ICANN plans to address the problem of network latency, to prevent applicants “renting a room at the Marina Del Rey Marriott” and thereby reducing the number of network hops between themselves and ICANN’s servers.
The resolution’s rationale reads: “Latency concerns are addressed in a fair manner so that applicants are not put at an advantage or disadvantage based on their geographic location”.
The digital archery system was met with borderline disbelief by many ICANN 43 attendees.
ICANN’s board resolution suggests that the system may have also been controversial within the board. It notes:
some members of the community have expressed concerns about whether the digital archery proposal is sensible and fair, and an informal subgroup of the Board has studied the feasibility, benefits, and risks of the proposal as well as alternative batching mechanisms such as auction.