After months of speculation, ICANN has finally revealed how many new generic top-level domain applications it expects to receive.
The lowest amount appears to be 2,091.
That’s the number of applications in the TLD Application System when it was taken offline due to the data leakage bug on April 12, ICANN said.
Another 214 applications had been registered but not yet paid for.
That’s a potential total of 2,305 applications.
ICANN has $350 million in application fees in the bank as a result.
How many of the unpaid bids convert to full applications will be key in deciding how many evaluation batches the first gTLD round will have.
Closer to 2,091, and it’s likely to be four batches. Closer to 2,305, and we may see a fifth batch.
With Initial Evaluation expected to take five months per batch, with a possible 11 months after that for the final Extended Evaluations and string contention resolution, it could be June 2015 before the first new gTLD round is completely processed.
It remains to be seen how many unique strings have been applied for, and how many applications will be successful, but with ICANN only planning to delegate 200 to 300 new gTLDs per year, the first round is likely going to last a loooong time.