TAS reopens after humiliating 40 days

Kevin Murphy, May 22, 2012, 07:03:13 (UTC), Domain Policy

Forty days after it was taken offline for a bug fix, ICANN has reopened its TLD Application System, giving new gTLD applicants a week to finish off their applications.

TAS will now close May 30 at 2359 UTC, which is 1559 in California next Wednesday afternoon.

But applicants are being warned that waiting until the final day “may not provide sufficient time to complete all submission steps before the submission period closes.”

The date of the Big Reveal of applications, which I’m now expecting to come at some point before the Prague meeting at the end of June, is likely to be confirmed in the next day or so.

As well as fixing the bug – a data leakage vulnerability that enabled applicants to see each others’ file names, affecting over 150 users – ICANN has made system performance improvements and cleaned up its HTML preview function, in response to user complaints.

Repairing the vulnerability has cost ICANN “hundreds of thousands of dollars” since TAS was taken offline April 12, chief operating officer Akram Atallah estimated last Thursday.

The fact that the system has reopened half a day ahead of the most recently scheduled deadline – it was due to open at 1900 UTC tonight – is unlikely to win ICANN many plaudits.

If the opinions of the opinionated are any guide, the TAS outage has left ICANN with a severe dent in its already patchy reputation, even among fervent supporters.

Atallah and senior vice president Kurt Pritz came in for a pummeling during an ICANN summit attended by registrars and registries, many of them gTLD applicants, late last week.

Several outspoken long-time community members made it clear that their confidence in ICANN’s ability to hit deadlines is at an all-time low.

Expectations of professionalism have increased, as AusRegistry CEO Adrian Kinderis told Atallah, now that ICANN has $350 million of applicant cash in its bank account.

The bug itself may have been as unavoidable and understandable as any bug in new software, but ICANN’s tardiness resolving the problem has left applicant trust in many cases shattered.

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Comments (3)

  1. John Smith says:

    “…the vulnerability has cost ICANN “hundreds of thousands of dollars”…”

    Hmm, did ICANN outsource the development of this or was this developed in-house? If the formed, they may be able to reclaim the damages from the developers (and I would hope they do so), if not, I hope they learn from this.

    • Kevin Murphy says:

      I believe it was developed in-house.

      I’m not sure where the “hundreds of thousands of dollars” to fix it was spent, but I know that third-party consultants were brought in to kick its tires.

      Presumably, there was also some cost associated with the performance improvements.

  2. JM says:

    This issue still exists: You input TAS answers in Arial but the HTML output is Courier, the fonts are different sizes, which borks all your tables. Why not use the same font in both cases?

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