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Digital archery ruled out for next new gTLD round

Kevin Murphy, July 10, 2018, Domain Tech

The oft-mocked “digital archery” system will not be making a return when ICANN finally starts taking more new gTLD applications.

That’s the current thinking of the ICANN community working group looking at subsequent application procedures.

Readers with long memories may recall digital archery as a hack for Californian gambling laws that ICANN org pressed for in 2012 as a way to form its 1,930 applications into an orderly queue for processing.

The idea was that applicants would fire off a bit of data to an ICANN site at a predetermined time and the applicants whose packets arrived closet to the target time, measured by the millisecond, would receive priority in the queue.

It was a bit like drop-catching, and the concept advanced to the stage where companies skilled in such things were offering digital archery services.

But after ICANN changed CEOs later that year, it turned out gambling wasn’t as illegal in California as former management thought it was. The org got itself a license to run a one-off lottery and sold tickets for $100 per application.

That’s now the preferred method for ordering the queue for the next rounds of applications, whenever those may be, according to last week’s Initial Report on the New gTLD Subsequent Procedures Policy Development Process.

Unlike 2012, the WG is proposing that portfolio applicants should be able to swap around their priority numbers according to their commercial interests.

So, if Donuts gets priority #1 for .crappy and #4,000 for .awesome, it would be able to switch priorities to get the better string evaluated earlier.

The WG is also not convinced that internationalized domain names, which received automatic priority in 2012, should get the same preferential treatment this time around.

That’s one of several questions it poses for the community in its public comment period.

While a better place in the evaluation queue had time-to-market advantages in 2012 — Donuts’ .guru sold a tonne of domains largely due to its first-mover status — that’s probably not going to be as big a deal next time around due to domainer skepticism about new gTLDs.

Amazon, Uniregistry, Verisign… here’s who won the new gTLDs lottery

Kevin Murphy, December 18, 2012, Domain Services

Amazon, Uniregistry and Verisign were among the luckiest companies competing in yesterday’s New gTLD Prioritization Draw, our preliminary analysis indicates.

ICANN spent nine and a half hours last night pulling lottery tickets from a drum in order to determine the order in which it will evaluate, negotiate and delegate new gTLD bids.

Applicants representing 1,766 applications bought tickets, a 92% turnout. Internationalized domain names were given special priority, but all other participants were treated equally.

A few hundred people — including Santa Claus, there to represent Uniregistry’s .christmas bid — showed up, with many more participating remotely.

Not many people stayed the course, however. In introductory remarks, ICANN CEO Fadi Chehade promised that the Draw would be “as boring as possible”, and it kept to his promise.

“I think it went really well,” ICANN’s new new gTLD program manager, Christine Willett, told DI today.

“I think people were really pleased and pleasantly surprised with how transparent it was,” she said. “We could have done it much faster electronically, but it wouldn’t have been as transparent.”

I’ve spent much of today drilling into the results of The Draw, using the DI PRO New gTLD Application Tracker, and here are some of my findings.

Uniregistry won the most contention sets.

Uniregistry, the portfolio applicant owned by domainer Frank Schilling, won more contention sets, in percentage terms, than other volume applicants.

This table shows the performance of the top 10 applicants (as measured by the number of contention sets they’re in).

ApplicantSetsWon%TLDs Won
Donuts1585736.08.college .tires .memorial .trading .doctor .mobile .phone .data .city .casino .school .realty .auto .coach .theater .broadway .realestate .film .eco .fyi .site .help .coupons .ski .search .salon .studio .rent .red .racing .radio .plus .photography .money .team .loans .gifts .flowers .vote .juegos .jewelry .wine .娱乐 .guide .garden .free .football .energy .discount .construction .church .charity .boats .beauty .baseball .band .audio
Google581220.69.diy .family .docs .lol .fun .pet .show .vip .talk .drive .mom .moto
Top Level Domain Holdings561628.57.style .book .home .llc .store .love .lawyer .law .dog .deals .casa .science .review .网址 .dds .country
Famous Four Media501530.00.tennis .golf .basketball .poker .run .taxi .hockey .diet .delivery .cricket .chat .bingo .cam .fit .sport
Uniregistry451737.78.inc .sale .art .tech .shopping .restaurant .property .hosting .yoga .gratis .video .furniture .fashion .cars .auction .save .gift
Amazon351028.57.buy .cloud .play .you .group .yun .wow .dev .deal .coupon
Directi28828.57.online .movie .hotel .blog .ping .website .world .click
Afilias Limited16212.50.app .mls
NU DOT CO LLC13215.38.design .web
Demand Media10330.00.rip .map .fishing

Getting the best draw number in a contention set is of course not indicative of any skill or of the quality of the applications, it just means the applicant got lucky.

Neither is it an indication of whether the applicant is likely to ultimately win their contention set; myriad other factors are in play.

There may even be some advantages to poorer draw numbers. We’ll get to that later.

Amazon is the luckiest portfolio applicant.

Amazon was the most successful applicant in the Draw of any company applying for 20 or more gTLDs, as measured by average prioritization numbers.

ApplicantAverage Priority
Amazon777
Afilias878
TLDH909
United TLD (Demand Media)910
Donuts946
Uniregistry961
Directi (Radix)994
Google (Charleston Road Registry)1,050
Famous Four Media1,222

The average for each applicant is of course affected positively by the number of IDN applications it filed, and negatively by the number of applications for which it opted out by not buying a ticket.

Amazon applied for 11 IDNs, increasing its average score, while Google did not buy tickets for 24 of its applications, substantially reducing its portfolio’s mean priority.

Likewise, Famous Four Media did not buy tickets for 12 of its applications.

Dot-brands fared less well, on average, than open gTLDs.

Single-registrant TLDs (which includes dot-brands and generic strings with single-registrant models, such as Google’s .blog application) had an average priority of 983, compared to 921 for TLDs we’ve identified as having “open” registration policies.

Verisign’s clients did better than most other registry back-ends.

Of the registry back-end providers named in more than 20 applications, China’s KNET fared best, with an average draw number of 328, according to our data. That’s to be expected of course, due to the inherent bias in the process towards IDN applications.

Of the rest, Verisign topped the list at 913 (to be expected again, given its own dozen IDN gTLD applications), followed closely by KSRegistry at 915. Minds + Machines got 930, Demand Media 942, Internet Systems Consortium 947 and Neustar 953.

OpenRegistry was unluckiest, with an average of 1,207, preceded by Google with 1,050 and GMO Registry with 1,027. CORE scored 1,000, ARI Registry Services 1,007, CentralNic 983 and Afilias 994.

Santa Claus shows up to ICANN new gTLD raffle

Kevin Murphy, December 17, 2012, Gossip

ICANN’s New gTLD Prioritization Draw has an unexpected visitor.

Santa Claus himself has showed up, apparently as a representative of Uniregistry’s uncontested bid for .christmas.

Santa

Here he is fraternizing in the lobby of the LA airport Hilton with ARI Registry Services CEO Adrian Kinderis.

And here he is with ICANN CEO Fadi Chehade.

Santa

The surprise* guest is believed to be responsible for all the sherry missing from ICANN media chief Brad White’s mini-bar.

The Draw kicks off at 1pm California time (9pm UTC) today and is expected to last at least eight hours.

*It may not have been a total surprise, given that Santa appears to have sensibly preregistered for the event.

New gTLD winners will be decided by lottery after all

Kevin Murphy, October 11, 2012, Domain Policy

ICANN will use a lottery to decide the order in which to process new gTLD applications, after a surprising U-turn.

ICANN this morning published a proposal that would prioritize applications based on a $100-a-ticket prize draw that would run in early December.

The results of the draw would be used to sequence applications for Initial Evaluation and, if successful, contract negotiations, pre-delegation testing and eventual delegation.

ICANN says the draw would give it an exemption to California’s anti-lottery laws, which was the primary reason it has so far resisted chance-based solutions to the batching/sequencing problem.

It’s applied for a special “fundraising drawings” license based on its non-profit status, which it expects to be granted before the end of November.

The license appears to have certain restrictions that confuse matters for applicants — they won’t be able to buy their tickets over the internet.

They’ll have to pay, in-person, for a paper ticket. But ICANN says that it can supply proxies for applicants at no cost, eliminating the need to fly a representative to California.

The whole process will be manual, so there’s little risk of an embarrassing Digital Archery-style snafu.

Applications for internationalized domain names would be given priority.

The draw would be run at some point between December 4 and 15.

Under the proposal, the results of Initial Evaluation would start to be released from March next year, starting with IDNs, at a rate of about 150 per week.

ICANN has also decided to extend the period for official objections to March 13, 2013, two months more than the current plan, due to requests for more time from potential objectors.

But the extension is unlikely to appease these objectors, which will still have to file objections before they know whether applications have passed Initial Evaluation, wasting money.

New gTLD applicants that pass Initial Evaluation, are not in contention and have no objections will have the option to immediately sign the standard registry contract.

Applicants wishing to negotiate their contracts will be processed according to their draw number.

However, no contracts will be signed before the ICANN meeting in Beijing next April. This is because the Governmental Advisory Committee does not expect to issue its formal Advice on applications before then.

ICANN expects to sign contracts and do pre-delegation testing at a rate of about 20 per week, which is roughly within the maximum 1,000-per-year delegation rate it has committed to.

The effect of this is that the first new gTLDs are expected to go live in the DNS root in the second quarter of 2013, rather than the third quarter.

I believe most of the proposals will be welcomed by most applicants. A lottery was always the most favored solution.

There will be some criticisms, however.

There does not appear to be a method envisaged for swapping slots, for example, so portfolio applicants probably won’t get to choose which of their gTLDs is delegated first.

The whole proposal is open for public comment here.