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NTAG Chair Blog: Singapore Mid-term Update

Jacob Malthouse

While the media spotlights the US role in Internet governance, the NTAG Executive Committee has been focussed on the daily business of ensuring the New gTLD programme is moving forward in the best interests of applicants.

There are signs that ICANN is becoming more responsive to applicant needs. Quick action implementing GAC Advice once it was resolved by the New gTLD Program Committee, the recent name collision webinar, and an ongoing dialogue on new gTLD auctions procedures are all positive steps.

On the other hand, we still regularly hear from applicants frustrated with interminable delays on specific contention sets. Despite years of preparatory work by the community, the application process has been far from predictable for applicants.

A commitment from ICANN to resolve remaining barriers to contention set resolution for all applications held up by matters outside their control before the first auctions begin would be welcomed by all. I am looking forward to hearing more about priorities like this one that applicants want to raise directly with the Board when NTAG meets with them during the Registries Group session.

With contention resolution mechanisms getting underway, the new gTLD program is entering its final phase. Regardless of whether applicants graduate to become registries or leave the programme as a result of not prevailing in their contention sets, they and their applications represent a tremendous body of knowledge.

A fully independent ICANN is going to need all the know-how it can muster to succeed. As we transition to the final phases of the new gTLD program, now is the time for ICANN and the community to start talking about how best to preserve the wisdom of the hundreds of applicants who participated.

By Jacob Malthouse, Fmr UNEP Staffer, Ex ICANN VP, Co-founder dot-eco domain registry.
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