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ICANN just put a date on the next new gTLD round

Kevin Murphy, May 23, 2023, Domain Policy

ICANN has just penciled in a date for the next round of new gTLD applications for the first time, but it’s already upsetting some people who think it’s not aggressive enough.

Org has released its draft Implementation Plan for the next round, which would see it launch in May 2026, three years from now.

The date seems to have been set from the top. The plan refers to “the Board’s desire to launch the next round by May 2026”.

The plan sets out the timeline by which community members will work with staff to turn the community’s policy recommendations into the rules and procedures for accepting and processing gTLD applications.

This cross-community Implementation Review Team will write the next Applicant Guidebook — the new gTLD’s program’s Holy Quran.

The plan covers the 98 policy recommendations already approved by the ICANN board of directors, it will be updated when or if the board approves the 38 recommendations currently considered “pending”.

The work would be split into eight “modules”, corresponding to the sections of the AGB, and the IRT would tackle each in turn, meeting mostly via Zoom for a couple hours once a week.

The modules would be split into about 40 topics, each covering a group of related recommendations, and each topic would be discussed for two meetings, with Org-drafted text undergoing first and second “readings” by the IRT.

The first module would take seven months to complete, timed from this month, and each subsequent module would take three to four months after the completion of the preceding module, according to the draft plan.

Above and beyond that timetable, the IRT has certain external dependencies, such as the work being done with governments on the “closed generics” issue, the plan notes.

After the AGB is published, ICANN would need to carry out other work, such as subjecting the AGB to public comment, then marketing the program for four months, before an application window would open.

The timeline has been received negatively by pretty much everyone on the IRT expressing a view on mailing list or Zoom chatter so far, with some asking why the modules have to be tackled sequentially rather than in parallel work tracks.

Some have also pointed out that an IRT lasting over two years risks participant attrition, a frequent problem with ICANN’s interminable policy-making work.

The IRT comprises dozens of volunteers from all sections of the community, though the most-engaged tend to be the lawyers and consultants who stand to make money advising large enterprises on their dot-brand applications.

New gTLDs — implementation talks to start next month

Kevin Murphy, April 5, 2023, Domain Policy

ICANN expects to kick off its implementation efforts for the next rounds of new gTLDs next month.

The Org is putting together its Implementation Review Team, a group of community members that will help shepherd staff into turning policy into reality.

Each supporting organization, advisory committee and constituency will get to nominate a representative (and an alt) and ICANN will put out an open call for volunteers for the team.

Members of the working group that came up with the policy recommendations in the first place are expected to be likely candidates.

The IRT’s main objective is to make sure that ICANN sticks to the letter and spirit of the recommendations, many of which were adopted by its board of directors last month, and prevent members re-litigating settled disputes.

ICANN expects to hold its first IRT meeting the week of May 14 or sooner.

ICANN spent millions of dollars and most of 2022 carrying out an Operational Design Assessment of new gTLDs policy recommendations, which was intended in part to relieve the IRT of some heavy lifting and speed it up.