ICANN has started reporting the results of Initial Evaluation in its new gTLD program as promised, delivering a passing grade to 27 applications today.
So far, no bids appear to have explicitly flunked IE, judging by ICANN’s web site.
However, some of the applications in the top 27 in the prioritization queue are still flagged as being in IE — the
Japanese Chinese-script dot-brand .淡马锡 and Samsung’s .삼성.
For some applications Initial Evaluation results were not yet available for one or more possible reasons such as: pending change requests, clarifying questions, or follow-up with applicants regarding missing information. The results for these applications will be published as soon as the relevant processes are completed.
Due to the way the queue was rigged, all 27 passes are for internationalized domain names, such as Verisign’s .net transliteration .大拿 and Amazon’s Japanese .fashion (.ファッション).
Those that have passed IE and have no objections and no contention can now pass in to predelegation testing and contract negotiations with ICANN.
All IE results are expected to be released by August.
While most new gTLD applicants were focused on delays to the program revealed during last Friday’s ICANN webinar, another bit of news may also be a cause for concern for .home applicants.
As Rubens Kuhl of Nic.br spotted, ICANN revealed that 11 applications have not yet passed their DNS Stability check.
That’s a reversal from November, when ICANN said that all new gTLD applications had passed the stability review.
As I noted at the time, that was good news for .home, which some say may cause security problems if it is delegated.
As Kuhl observed, there are exactly 11 applications for .home, the same as the number of applications that now appear to have un-passed the DNS Stability check.
So is ICANN taking a closer look at .home, or is it just a numerical coincidence?
The string is considered risky by many because .home already receives a substantial amount of DNS traffic at the root servers, which will be inherited by whichever company wins the contention set.
It’s on a list of frequently requested invalid TLDs produced by ICANN’s Security and Stability Advisory Committee which was incorporated by reference in the new gTLD Applicant Guidebook.
Some major ISPs, notably BT in the UK, use .home as a pseudo-TLD in their residential routers.
ICANN has started selling its $100-a-pop New gTLD Prioritization Draw raffle tickets in Los Angeles, with a little less than a week to go until the make-or-break drawing.
The organization is understandably eager not to balls it up this time — the Draw replaces Digital Archery, which was killed off largely due to how silly it was — so there are strict rules in place.
Due to the Californian lottery laws the Draw will operate under, applicants have to show up in person to buy their tickets, or ask a designated proxy to do it for them.
To avoid any funny business, each buyer has to show up with a government ID with details matching those on the special Designation Form, which in turn must be signed by a named individual from the gTLD application itself.
It’s strictly one ticket per application, of course.
Some applicants have got in early. Here’s photographic evidence that some applicants have successfully bought theirs, courtesy of Uniregistry counsel Bret Fausett.
The draw itself will take place on December 17, starting at about 1pm local time, at the LA airport Hilton. Anyone who shows up to buy tickets after 11am that day will be turned away.
With over 1,900 applications, we could be looking at eight hours or more of pulling pieces of paper out of a bucket.
The whole thing will be webcast for people who, like me, have nothing better to do with their time.
Opting out of the process is as simple as not buying a ticket, but there’ll be a secondary draw to determine the prioritization of opted-out applications.
Applications for internationalized domain names will be drawn first, followed by non-IDNs, followed by opted-out IDNs, followed by opted-out non-IDNs.
Why is this lottery so important?
For many applicants it’s going to determine their time to market, which could mean the difference between launching into a market eager for new real estate and launching into one jaded by flops.
In some cases a good draw number could be worth millions. But unfortunately for applicants, they won’t be able to trade their tickets or prioritization slots.
The new gTLD program’s Independent Objector has launched his own web site, independently from ICANN.
The IO’s job is to file Community Objections and Limited Public Interest Objections against new gTLD applications, should the need arise.
In practice, I’d be very surprised to see any of the latter filed during the current application round, but I’d expect to see several Community Objections.
Pellet will file his objections before January 13, according to the web site. That’s the current objection-filing deadline, which ICANN plans to extend to March 13.
ICANN should start delegating new gTLDs in the first quarter of next year as previously planned and the Governmental Advisory Committee should work faster.
That’s according to many new gTLD applicants dropping their ideas into ICANN’s apparently semi-official comment box on application “metering” over the last week or so.
ICANN wanted to know how it should queue up applications for eventual delegation, in the wake of the death of batching and digital archery.
According to information released over the past couple of weeks, it currently plans to release the results of Initial Evaluation on all 1,924 still-active applications around June or July next year, leading to the first new gTLDs going live in perhaps August.
But that’s not good enough for many applicants. Having successfully killed off batching, their goal now is to compress the single remaining batch into as short a span as possible.
The New TLD Applicant Group, a new observer group recognized by ICANN’s Registry Stakeholder Group, submitted lengthy comments.
NTAG wants Initial Evaluation on all applications done by January 2013, and for ICANN to publish the results as they trickle in rather than in one batch at the end.
The suggested deadline is based on ICANN’s recent statement that its evaluators’ processing powers could eventually ramp up to 300 applications per month. NTAG said in its comments:
Notwithstanding ICANN’s statements to the contrary, there is not a consensus within the group that initial evaluation results should be held back until all evaluations are complete; in fact, many applicants believe that initial evaluation results should be released as they become available.
That view is not universally supported. Brand-centric consultancy Fairwinds and a couple of its clients submitted comments expressing support for the publication of all Initial Evaluation results at once.
January 2013 is an extremely aggressive deadline.
Under the batching-based schedule laid out in the Applicant Guidebook, 1,924 applications would take more like 20 months, not seven, to pass through Initial Evaluation.
NTAG could not find consensus on methods for sequencing applications among its members. Separate submissions from big portfolio applicants including Donuts, Uniregistry, TLDH and Google and smaller, single-bid applicants gave some ideas, however.
Donuts, for example, hasn’t given up on a game-based solution to the sequencing problem – including, really, Rock Paper Scissors – though it seems to favor a system based on timestamping.
The company is among a few to suggest that applications could be prioritized using the least-significant digits of the timestamp they received when they were submitted to ICANN.
An application filed at 15:01:01 would therefore beat an application submitted at 14:02:02, for example.
This idea has been out there for a while, though little discussed. I have to wonder if any applicants timed their submissions accordingly, just in case.
Comments submitted by TLDH, Google and others offer a selection of methods for sequencing bids which includes timestamping as well alphabetical sorting based on the hash value of the applications.
This proposal also supports a “bucketing” approach that would give more or less equal weight to five different types of application – brand, geographic, portfolio, etc.
Uniregistry, uniquely I think, reckons it’s time to get back to random selection, which ICANN abandoned due to California lottery laws. The company said in its comments:
Random selection of applications for review should not present legal issues now, after the application window has closed. While the window was still open, random selection for batches would have given applicants an incentive to file multiple redundant applications, withdrawing all but the application that placed earliest in the random queue and creating a kind of lottery for early slots. Now that no one can file an additional application, that lottery problem is gone.
Given that the comment was drafted by a California lawyer, I can’t help but wonder whether Uniregistry might be onto something.
Many applicants are also asking the GAC to pull its socks up and work on its objections faster.
The GAC currently thinks it can file its official GAC Advice on New gTLDs in about April next year, which doesn’t fit nicely with the January 2013 evaluation deadline some are now demanding.
ICANN should urge the GAC to hold a special inter-sessional meeting to square away its objections some time between Toronto in October and Beijing in April, some commenters say.
ICANN received dozens of responses to its call for comments, and this post only touches on a few themes. A more comprehensive review will be posted on DI PRO tomorrow.