On Thursday, ICANN will host another one of its New gTLD Program Applicant Update webinars to update applicants on topics “of interest” to them. One of those topics, of course, is the ongoing progress toward adopting a solution to resolve the issue of application batching/metering/sequencing once and for all.
Readers will remember from our earlier post, “Weighing in on Batching,” that FairWinds submitted a proposed solution during ICANN’s recently closed public comment window that followed the accounting principle, First In, First Out, or FIFO. Essentially, our solution relies on natural speed bumps and roadblocks in the new gTLD application evaluation process and puts more control in the hands of new gTLD applicants, rather than in ICANN to establish subjective delays. You can read more about our proposed solution in the post.
But what did others have to say about the batching/metering issue? Well, to begin with, any agreement on whether ICANN should release all the results of Initial Evaluation (IE) at once or on a rolling basis still remains elusive. Certain larger applicants like Donuts, which applied for 307 gTLDs, and Uniregistry, which applied for around 50, are opposed to ICANN holding the IE results, where others, including the recently formed New TLD Applicant Group, a division of Observers in ICANN’s Registries Stakeholder Group, was unable to reach consensus on the matter.
Unsurprisingly, applicants for multiple strings tended to favor a solution that would allow them to rank their own applications based on their priorities of which should launch first. And a handful of applicants from across the spectrum proposed allowing IDN and community-based applications to proceed through evaluation to delegation first, including one group that co-signed a letter – signatories ranged from entrepreneurial applicants to Google. Not all comments submitted shared that point of view, however.
Like with many other public comments ICANN has solicited for policies in the past, agreement on many aspects of batching/metering/sequencing seems a long way off. According to the recently posted New gTLD Roadmap, ICANN seems to be in no rush but rather more concerned with getting it right this time: the organization does not plan to have a final solution prepared for implementation until December at the earliest. This timeline undoubtedly raises concerns among certain applicants, who made it clear that they expect for ICANN to be completely finished with IE by the first quarter of 2012.
Based on the Roadmap, it is unlikely that ICANN will have much new to say on the subject of batching/metering/sequencing during Thursday’s webinar, but hopefully the organization continues to provide updates in the form of webinars and published announcements on its new gTLD microsite. Because after all, one of the biggest areas of agreement among applicants who submitted comments on this issue was that ICANN needs to be much more transparent in all of its processes.