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New Top Level Domains Application Metering - Figure It Out ICANN!

Elisa Cooper

Let me begin by saying that I am big supporter of ICANN. But good grief ICANN, why must the ENTIRE new gTLD process be so painful?

I could run through a long list of all the delays, missteps and glitches, but why bother?

It's almost comical at this point — although not for 1,930 new gTLD applicants who have been waiting for ICANN to get their act together.

First we were led to believe that the batching of applications was necessary due to resourcing constraints, which I personally never understood as the evaluation of applications is being done be third-party consultants. Isn't the whole point of using consultants so that efforts can be easily ramped-up or ramped down?

At any rate — now ICANN is fretting about how to meter applications (due to SSAC recommendations that no more than 1,000 new gTLDs shall be added to the root in a single year) and they are calling on the Community to provide input?

We are talking about 1,409 unique extensions, 1,179 of which are uncontested and could immediately move to the next stages of processing, and yes, that's a lot of new gTLDs. Undoubtedly, these 1,179 potential new gTLDs will certainly pose significant challenges to registrars and registrants.

That said, 1,179 is a relatively small number.

Let's put it into perspective. Last year, with a budget of $335 million, the FCC granted close to 13,800 licenses for radio, television, wire, satellite and cable. And similar to ICANN, the FCC is also responsible for "encouraging the development of innovative services and conducting investigations and analyzing complaints."

I realize that the FCC has been around for close to 80 years, and with that comes maturity, but if the FCC can issue 13,800 licenses in a single year, surely ICANN can strive to expedite the final processing stages for 1,179 uncontested applications, especially given that ICANN has collected over $350 million in application fees.

Instead of asking the Community to provide feedback as to how new gTLDs should be metered, I urge ICANN to re-evaluate their own internal processes and to take preemptive measures to alleviate potential bottlenecks. If that means ramping up ICANN's legal department, the ability to conduct pre-delegation testing, or increasing resources for the IANA function, so be it.

Please, please, ICANN — figure it out.

By Elisa Cooper, SVP Marketing and Policy at Brandsight, Inc.
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Related topics: DNS, ICANN, Policy & Regulation, New TLDs
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