Today kicks off the sale of tickets for ICANN’s Prioritization Draw in Los Angeles, California. The sale will continue until the morning of Monday, December 17. The Draw will take place later that day.
We've explained the Prioritization Draw previously here on the blog, but for a refresher, you can check out the video below, where FairWinds’ consulting associate Molly Burke discusses the details of the Draw.
This video is one of a series of videos FairWinds has made about various aspects of the New gTLD Program and new gTLD strategies for brand owners. We will be releasing more videos over the coming weeks, but for now, visit our YouTube channel to see the first few.
So why are we bringing up the Prioritization Draw again? There seems to be some confusion out there about the comparative advantages and disadvantages of actually participating in the Draw. Considering that applicants have to get to Los Angeles to buy their tickets and participate in the Draw in person, or otherwise find a proxy to stand in for them, and pay $100 a pop for each ticket, the idea of simply skipping the whole thing may seem pretty appealing to applicants who aren’t in a big rush to launch their new gTLDs.
But taking the back seat like this, even if you would rather hold off on launching your new gTLD for a time, is not the best move. If there’s one thing that is certain about new gTLDs, it’s that nothing is certain – we cannot know right now how quickly new gTLDs and the marketplace around them will take off (although from FairWinds’ recent research, we know that it may be relatively quickly). Opting out of the Draw basically means relinquishing control over when you can proceed with many aspects of the gTLD evaluation and launch process. Conversely, if you do participate in the Draw but want to slow down these processes, there are multiple points at which you can choose to delay or extend the amount of time to complete certain tasks, like negotiating the Registry Agreement.
It seems ironic, but for those applicants who want to wait, it’s actually more advisable to participate in the Draw. That way, they get to wait on their terms, rather than ICANN’s.