In recent weeks, you may have seen several articles asking that "ICANN", the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, move more expeditiously to open up the next application window for new gTLDs. As one commenter wrote "Ask a Board member or ICANN staff when they expect the next application window to open, and they will inevitably suggest 2020 — another three years away. Any reasonable person would agree that eight years for a second application window is anything but expeditious, and some might say potentially anti-competitive." Rather than pointing the finger, maybe it's time to turn the question on its head and ask, "what can we do to help move things forward?"
As one of the co-chairs of ICANN Policy Development Process working on Subsequent Procedures for the introduction of New gTLDs, I certainly understand the requests to move more quickly. That said, we need to stop asking others, like the ICANN Board, to move in a top-down fashion to start a new process when we are not actively participating in the process to enable that new application window to occur in the ICANN multi-stakeholder bottom-up process. We, the community, actually control our own destiny in this regard.
Yes, it has been a number of years since the last round closed. But we, as a community, have all known the milestones that needed to be achieved before the ICANN Board could approve the next application window. Namely, they include completion of the Competition, Consumer Choice and Trust Review (CCT-RT), the ICANN staff implementation review, and the Policy Development Process on Subsequent Procedures.
To date, I would argue that ICANN staff are the only ones that have completed their deliverable, the implementation review. The CCT-RT is several months behind schedule, and the PDP on Subsequent Procedures is making good progress. However, like many PDPs, there is certainly a lack of active participation from those that would like to see the process move more quickly. So rather than complaining to the ICANN Board about the speed of the process, please join the PDP on Subsequent Procedures and actively participate. Submit proposals rather than just complaining about things you didn't like. Respond to questions and surveys when they are released. NOTE: Shortly a Community Comment period will open up with a number of questions on improvements that can be made. This is exactly the kind of opportunity that, with plenty of community engagement, could help move things forward, so please respond in a timely manner.
In short, please help us help you. If you want things to move more quickly, get involved.
By Jeff Neuman, Senior Vice President, Valideus USA
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