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Details of new gTLD batching process revealed

Kevin Murphy, February 17, 2012, 15:42:47 (UTC), Domain Policy

Some details about how ICANN will prioritize new generic top-level domain applications into batches have emerged.
The Applicant Guidebook states that gTLD applications will be processed in batches of 500, but all it says about the batching process is that it will not be random. Rather, some form of “secondary timestamp” is proposed.
The batching process is important mainly to commercial, open registries, which stand to make much more money by hitting the market early, before new gTLD fatigue sets in.
Some tantalizing hints about how batches will be created can be found in the minutes of the ICANN board of directors December 8 meeting, which were recently published.
From the minutes we learn the following:

  • Applicants are not going to find out how batching will work until after April 12, when all the applications have already been received.
  • The timestamp could be created by an email sent by the applicant to a specific address at a specific time, or some function within the TLD Application System.
  • The system will not be biased towards specific geographic regions – ICANN will cycle through the fastest responses from each region when it creates the batches.
  • There will be an opt-out for applicants for whom time is not a factor.
  • Contested gTLDs will be batched with the fastest applicant.

The minutes represent ICANN’s staff’s thinking two months ago – and the conversation confused several directors – so the batching method finally selected could obviously differ.
However, if time-to-market is important for your gTLD, it might be a good idea to think about renting a server as few hops from ICANN as possible.
This is what the minutes say:

The third, and remaining option, is a secondary timestamp. This would occur after the time of the application window closing in order to provide privacy. Applicants will not be advised of the exact method until after the applications are received, which will ensure further fairness. It could be an email response to a mailbox, or the re-registration of an application, or another method. The method used will be decentralized, so that the region rom which the secondary timestamp is submitted is irrelevant. The timestamp will cycle through the regions of the world, awarding a batching preference to the top-rated application from one region, then the succeeding four regions, and continue the cycle again. In the case of contending applications, the applications will be grouped in the earliest batch where any of the contending applications are placed. There will also be an opt-out mechanism, included at the community’s request. Applicants may request to be evaluated at the end, if they prefer to be evaluated and delegated later.

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Comments (3)

  1. Kristina says:

    Can you clarify what’s new (since Dec. 8)? Thanks!

    • Kevin Murphy says:

      I don’t believe that the technical points about implementation (eg, using a mailbox) and the region-cycling idea have been revealed before now.

  2. Rubens Kuhl says:

    Region cycling was in the Dec.8 docs. Mailbox was not, but I don’t think it will use such.
    ICANN operations has many more precise methods involving DNS at their disposal to generate time-stamps, and operate a very decentralized resource, the L-root.

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