ICANN recently held an Applicant Update Webinar led by Christine Willett, VP of Operations, as part of a series intended to provide information on the evaluation progress, program developments, and other topics of interest to new gTLD applicants. While the webinar didn’t produce any groundbreaking news, applicants should take note of key dates for ICANN auctions and Community Priority Evaluations.
New gTLD applicants in Contention Sets can request an ICANN auction after publication of Initial Evaluation results. Completion of the Initial Evaluation stage is expected by August, with ICANN planning to begin auction proceedings in September; this is likely because private auction providers have previously announced their intentions to begin their own auction processes in the coming weeks.
ICANN also announced that community-based new gTLD applicants can request Community Priority Evaluations (CPEs) starting in June. The CPE is a process by which to resolve string contention, which may be elected by a community-based applicant. CPE evaluations are then scheduled to take place in September.
Other important ICANN updates include:
- The last set of Financial, Technical, and Registry Services Clarifying Questions (CQs) will be released on May 22, 2013
- ICANN will be holding a Contracting Webinar Session in early June to inform applicants on material information needed for an executable Registry Agreement
- ICANN has launched a new Contracting & Registry Agreement microsite
- Pre-Delegation Beta Testing has begun and ICANN has clarified that applicants will need to have signed their Registry Agreement prior to Pre-Delegation Testing
- Thanks to implementation of the Strawman Model, 50 domain labels found to have been previously abused have been added to existing verified TMCH records
- ICANN will release a timeline for the earliest theoretical launch of new gTLDs
Much remains and will remain unknown until the ICANN Board decides how to proceed on the Registry Agreement, the latest draft of which is now open for public comment, and on the GAC Advice, which the board is now reviewing.