The Association of National Advertisers has told ICANN that more time is needed for the public to file comments on new gTLD applications. I think it has a point.
As it stands, ICANN plans to forward any comments submitted before August 12 to the program’s evaluators, but the ANA thinks several more months are needed.
In a letter (pdf) to ICANN interim CEO Akram Atallah, ANA president Bob Liodice wrote:
When ICANN initially approved the gTLD Program in June 2011, ICANN’s own planning and financial estimates only envisioned 500 applications; it is possible that a sixty-day comment window might have been sufficient to evaluate that number of applications. However, almost four times that number of applications has been received, and so a mere sixty days is not enough time for the public to evaluate the details of the many string applications that may impact their interests.
Liodice asks for at least 180 more days for public comments.
The letter has been circulated to various members of the US government, but for once there’s no threat of a lawsuit.
I have to say I agree with the ANA on this occasion: more time is needed for commenting, although I’m not sure a full extra six months is necessary.
Making sense of the sheer volume of data available since the Big Reveal can be overwhelming, even for somebody who covers this topic every day.
Comments filed to date — about 1,400 of them — are narrowly focused on a small subset of wedge-issue applications. About half were organized by Morality in Media and probably could be described as anti-porn astroturf.
It’s very likely that many regular ICANN community members who intend to file substantive comments intend to do so at the last minute, per standard ICANN practice, but I think in this case there needs to be more input from outside of the usual circle of suspects.
More time to comment, and more media outreach by ICANN, might be able to create a stronger mandate — or highlight more potential problems — for some of these 1,930 applications.
With a single year-long Initial Evaluation batch now essentially confirmed could the public comment window not also be extended?