The ICANN Board has resolved to launch the new gTLD process at the end of May 2011. What are the milestones to look out for and what do you need to do by when?
Countdown to the New gTLDs
What does this mean for brand owners? Here is our interpretation of the ICANN countdown. Note that where ICANN has named an exact day such as 9 November 2010 for the publication of the Proposed Final Applicant Guidebook, our experience of working with ICANN shows that this should be regarded as a target.
November 2010: Publication of “Proposed Applicant Guidebook” for 30 days of comment.
December 2010: ICANN Open Meeting, Cartagena, Colombia where the Proposed Applicant Guidebook will be discussed before the Board directs the staff to implement final changes.
January 2011: Publication of Applicant Guidebook and the launch of the New gTLD communications plan launched.
March 2011: ICANN Open Meeting, San Francisco, California: It might be that ICANN will announce who it is appointing to undertake Evaluations and to operate the Clearinghouse at this time.
End of May or early June 2011: New gTLD application period opens. This is when you will need to submit your applications or to monitor who is applying for which terms so that you can mount an objection if necessary.
With the fastest route to delegation being just eight months, expect new gTLDs to go live from Spring/early Summer 2012.
With the current Board Chairman Peter Dengate Thrush due to retire by rotation at the June 2011 ICANN Open Meeting, this timetable delivers him the opportunity to leave on what he will regard as a high note as the architect who delivered the expansion of the gTLD name space.
Below is our version of the new gTLD timeline.