ICANN has turned off its unpopular “digital archery” system after new gTLD applicants and independent testing reported “unexpected results”.
As delegates continue to hit the tarmac here in Prague for ICANN 44, at which batching may well be hottest topic in town, digital archery is now surely doomed.
ICANN said in a statement this morning:
The primary reason is that applicants have reported that the timestamp system returns unexpected results depending on circumstances. Independent analysis also confirmed the variances, some as a result of network latency, others as a result of how the timestamp system responds under differing circumstances.
While that’s pretty vague, it could partly refer to the kind of geographic randomness reported by ARI Registry Services, following testing, earlier this week.
It could also refer to the kind of erratic results reported by Top Level Domain Holdings two weeks ago, which were initially dismissed as a minor display-layer error.
TLDH has also claimed that the number of opportunistic third-party digital archery services calibrating their systems against the live site had caused latency spikes.
Several applicants also said earlier this week that the TLD Application System had been inaccessible for long periods, apparently due to a Citrix overloading problem.
Only 20% of applications had so far registered their archery timestamp, according to ICANN, despite the fact that the system was due to close down on June 28.
Make no mistake, this is another technical humiliation for ICANN, one which casts the resignation of new gTLD program director Michael Salazar on Thursday in a new light.
For applicants, ICANN said evaluations were still proceeding according to plan, but that the batching problem is now open for face-to-face community discussion:
The evaluation process will continue to be executed as designed. Independent firms are already performing test evaluations to promote consistent application of evaluation criteria. The time it takes to delegate TLDs will depend on the number and timing of batches
The information gathered from community input to date and here in Prague will be weighed by the New gTLD Committee of the Board. The Committee will work to ensure that community sentiment is fully understood and to avoid disruption to the evaluation schedule.
Expect ICANN staff to take a community beating over these latest developments as ICANN 44 kicks off here in Prague.
There’s light support for batching, and even less for digital archery. It’s looking increasingly likely that neither will survive the meeting.