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New ICANN gTLD Applicant Guidebook Released (and More)

ICANN has been quiet lately, very quiet. It has been making everyone nervous and leaving the field open to ICANN's enemies, which has in turn encouraged domain industry hacks to resort to long "think pieces" in the absence of news — always a cause for concern.

Today, though, ICANN released a number of results and initiatives that are quite newsworthy. There's a lot to digest and report on, which should keep the journalists a safe distance away from Wondering What It All Means.

Among the releases from ICANN:

  • A new updated Applicant Guidebook. It is missing the important word "final," but does nail down some dates and clarifies some GAC issues. Still unanswered, in the guidebook or elsewhere, are questions about the Continuing Operations Instrument (a ham-fisted business-killer that has raised many concerns). Nonetheless, for those thinking of applying, a must-read. ICANN unfortunately did not publish a red-lined version to quickly see the changes from the last version, though there is a Summary of Changes to the Applicant Guidebook.
  • A new web site devoted to the gTLD program. Until today, looking at the main ICANN homepage, you'd never guess that the major undertaking of ICANN's history was about to get underway. Now, however, the photo of CEO Beckstrom and the guys from .BR, which looked like it was lifted from the annual report of a Minsk tractor factory, has been pushed down to make way for the headline "New gTLD Program In High Gear," accompanied by some stock photography of a woman looking determined and competent. On the gTLD mini-site, there's a section with videos of "experts" (some are, some aren't) as well as an FAQ, knowledgebase, latest materials, and so on. It's still in development, and that's ok. Let's hope it keeps developing.
  • The final report of the contentious and dysfunctional JAS Working Group concerning support for disadvantaged applicants. You can't read the report yet (at least I can't) but it should be made public soon. This has been listed as one of the major issues left unsolved from the Singapore meeting in June. If you're a serious ICANN geek, you can listen to the working group session (thanks to Joly MacFee of ISOC NY)

It's good to see ICANN breaking their radio silence and providing a useful resource to applicants.

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