Buzzer Beaters

FairWinds Partners —  March 12, 2013

The clock is winding down to the close of ICANN’s period to file objections against new gTLD applications. With the deadline of tomorrow, March 13 at 8:00 pm EDT looming, only one objection has been publicly posted on ICANN’s website. But will we see the floodgates open in the eleventh hour?

If the Public Comment period on new gTLD applications, which ran from July 13 through September 26, 2012, is any indication, then the answer to that question is yes. Literally thousands of comments were submitted on the last day (technically, the comment period is still open, but only comments submitted by September 26 were guaranteed to be sent to application evaluators). So that is one hint that we may be seeing more objections pop up in the next day.

Another question on many people’s minds is whether we’ll see a run of String Similarity Objections filed in response to the Contention Set results published in late February. Only eight gTLD applications that were not exact matches ended up in contention. Those eight were .HOTELS vs. .HOTEIS, .UNICOM vs. .UNICORN, and four IDN strings across two different contention sets. Many expected that applications for terms that were very similar in meaning, such as .CAREER and .CAREERS, would also end up in contention, but they did not. So will this mean that some applicants will file String Similarity Objections in order to force applicants for similar terms into a Contention Set, with the goal of taking what could be a competing string out of the running?

Watching this play out over the next day should be pretty exciting. We’ll be checking back on ICANN’s Objections page regularly to see if new objections are posted, and ICANN has announced that it will publish the complete list of objections sometime in April. In the meantime, to refresh your memory about the different types of possible gTLD application objections, check out FairWinds’ Jennifer Goldberg explaining all four types of objections in the video here: