Anyone who put their money on June 13 as the date when ICANN would reveal the list of new gTLD applicants and their applied-for strings got some great news last night. In a new update, ICANN announced a series of important upcoming dates. First, the TLD Application System (TAS) will close tonight at 23:59 UTC, or 7:59 PM EDT, as scheduled. The Batching process will officially begin on June 8 and close on June 28. And during that timeframe, Reveal Day will take place on June 13.
Reveal Day will also kick off the 60-day Public Comment period, during which anyone – applicants and members of the public – can submit comments on any application. ICANN has hired an independent objector to vet these comments to determine whether they should impact the way each application is evaluated. June 13 will also mark the beginning of the seven-month Objection Period, during which various parties can file objections to certain applications based on legal grounds, public interest, or community standing.
On July 11, ICANN will announce the results of the Batching process and we will get to see who fared best in the Digital Archery game. Finally, ICANN will kick off initial evaluation the next day, on July 12.
Now that we’ve got a set timeline for the next chapter of the New gTLD Program, it’s high time that applicants begin formulating their strategies for this next phase.