Archives For ICANN

ICANN has posted a “Proposed Final New gTLD Registry Agreement” for public comment, and it’s no surprise many gTLD applicants are not satisfied.

This latest version of the Registry Agreement (RA) “is the result of several months of negotiations, formal community feedback during a public comment forum initiated on 5 February 2013, and meetings with various stakeholders and communities,” ICANN states.

Despite the work that went into it, many applicants hope that this version will not be the last.

The RA features a number of updates and changes – including revisions to the amendment process, a new confidentiality provision, and revisions to registry owners’ rights and obligations on reserved names.

But much work remains.

ICANN’s process for amending the RA – after registries sign it – is still the object of intense debate. Many argue this top-down approach is antithetical to ICANN’s consensus-building, multi-stakeholder process, but ICANN has shown little to no inclination to budge on this point. Brand stakeholders also remain concerned about insufficient trademark protections in the event a registry fails.

The Registry Agreement Negotiating Team (RA-NT) – an informal group with no decisional authority that nevertheless worked with ICANN on the redraft – issued a statement making clear it expects additional changes upon closure of the public comment period, over a month away.

For now, we eagerly anticipate reaction from the ICANN community and the ICANN board and wonder whether the board will accept the community’s feedback before final terms are approved.

FairWinds CEO Nao Matsukata is advocating for ICANN to offer an alternative draft Registry Agreement (RA) for Internal Registries, whose needs are uniquely different from those of new gTLD Registries who plan to sell second-level domain names to the public.

Matsukata’s recommendation – made in a letter to ICANN CEO Fadi Chehadé dated March 27 – is based on extensive experience. FairWinds associates prepared 150 applications for over 50 corporations, have held numerous client discussions about the new gTLD process, and carefully reviewed the Public Comments.

A separate, specific contract could shorten the negotiation process for Internal Registry applicants, thereby freeing up ICANN’s resources to process applications for public gTLDs. Matsukata believes that this type of substantive change will result in real process improvements for all applicants.

He is also confident that ICANN can modify its current process before gTLD delegations begin.

As Bloomberg BNA reported last week,“Though the turnaround time on new contracts at ICANN is typically not quick, it might be possible for ICANN to publish a new contract in keeping with its current timelines, Matsukata remarked.”

On March 22, ICANN announced the first 27 applications for new gTLDs that passed Initial Evaluation.

The 27 applications that passed and that do not face any objections or string contentions will be able to proceed to the contracting phase. These applicants can execute their contract with ICANN “as early as 23 April 2013″.

ICANN is planning on releasing Initial Evaluation results each week, 30 strings at a time, and the organization is hoping to increase the release to 100 strings per week.  The status of the three applications that would have rounded out the first 30 – application 7, 18, and 29 in terms of priority rank – is still unknown for “one or more possible reasons”, according to ICANN., and the reasons could range from “pending change requests, clarifying questions, or follow-up with applicants regarding missing information.”

ICANN’s current plan is to have all Initial Evaluations results posted by the end of August 2013.

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? Continue Reading…

Setting the PIC

FairWinds Partners —  February 12, 2013

ICANN made some serious waves during its most recent New gTLD Applicant Update webinar when it announced, among other notices, that it has proposed a series of significant changes to the baseline form of the new gTLD Registry Agreement and would be opening those changes up to Public Comments. The Registry Agreement, or RA, as we’ve discussed previously on this blog, is the contract that all new gTLD applicants must enter into with ICANN in order to operate their new gTLDs. Continue Reading…

New Year, New ICANN?

FairWinds Partners —  February 1, 2013

The ICANN staff has had a very busy month, jetting around the globe to meet with various stakeholders, constituencies and other groups. These meetings not only bridge the long gap between the most recent Public Meeting in Toronto, which took place back in October, and the next Public Meeting in Beijing, which will be held in April, but they come at a fairly crucial time in the new gTLD process. Continue Reading…

During today’s new gTLD applicant update webinar, ICANN made some important announcements regarding the timing of upcoming milestones in the new gTLD application evaluation process. Specifically, ICANN stated that Contention Sets would be announced on March 1. This is nearly two months after the most recent date ICANN had put forth for the publication of Contention Sets, which was mid-January. Other milestones seem to be proceeding on schedule, though: Clarifying Questions for non-geographic strings will be issued beginning this Tuesday, January 15, at a rate of 100 per week, in the order of application’s Prioritization Draw numbers. The Trademark Clearinghouse will begin accepting trademark registrations in February, and the application evaluation panels are on track to release Initial Evaluation results beginning in late March, as planned. Continue Reading…

As a special holiday treat, FairWinds is releasing the next three videos in its new gTLD series. Today’s videos feature FairWinds’ Engagement Manager Alex White and Samantha Demetriou, Director of Marketing and Communications, explaining ICANN and the various stakeholder groups that make up the ICANN community, with a special focus on the GAC.

This will likely be the last gTLD Strategy post of 2012, so we wish all of our readers a happy and safe holiday season. Check out the last video in the post for a special holiday message from the FairWinds team. For each view, we will make a donation to the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and the Incredible Teddy Foundation. Continue Reading…

The fact that 1,766 new gTLD applications participated in ICANN’s Prioritization Draw held yesterday is interesting for two reasons: first, because such a high percentage (92%) chose to participate, and second, because some very interesting applications opted to not participate in the Draw. Last night we took a look at the first new gTLD applications drawn. Today we’ll examine which will be at the back of the line. Continue Reading…

The Prioritization Draw for new gTLDs is now well underway. Despite a bit of a rough start with the live stream of the Draw, ICANN has been steadily plugging away through the 1,766 applications that opted to participate. With 1,930 applications submitted, this figure represents 92 percent of applications – meaning less than 200 applications chose to not participate in the Draw.

ICANN drew 108 IDN gTLD applications first before moving on to the non-IDN gTLD strings. Of the first 100 non-IDN gTLDs drawn, 47 were for branded terms or generic terms submitted by a major brand. Of the remaining 53, five were for geographic terms (.RUHR, .KOELN, .HELSINKI, .TOKYO and .PARIS), and the final 48 were for generic terms. Continue Reading…