Josh Bourne ⬥ 29 April
Since ICANN set an updated timeline for the new gTLD program at the close of the public meeting in San Francisco, many in the Internet community have been caught up in the fervor of preparing for the imminent introduction of potentially hundreds of new domain name extensions.
It’s time for a bit of perspective.
Regardless of how certain anyone is that the ICANN Board will approve the latest version of the Applicant Guidebook at the public meeting in Singapore in June, the fact remains that that there are still numerous hurdles to overcome before ICANN finalizes the policy around the new gTLD program. Changes could be made to the Guidebook that significantly alter how companies consider the option to own branded gTLD registries. One day, there will be a definitive policy, but at present, that policy does not yet exist.
That means that companies that are struggling to figure out a course of action for the day when new gTLDs become a reality can relax. Your backs are not up against the wall just yet. Right now, we can only venture an educated guess as to what the final new gTLD policy will look like; no one can know for certain what will eventually result from continuing deliberations within the ICANN community, theupcoming congressional hearing on ICANN and new gTLDs, or potential actions that the NTIA may take in regards to ICANN’s future with respect to the IANA contract.
Spending too much time wondering whether or not you will have to develop a business model around a new gTLD amounts to wasted energy at this point. Those questions cannot be assessed without knowing the final rules and policies around new gTLDs.
While it obviously does not hurt to be prepared for questions from top management, and to follow the developments of this program, it is futile to attempt to develop a plan or even to commit to partners until the policy is finalized.
And besides, since the main driver within the ICANN community behind rolling out new gTLDs has been future revenue generation, it’s a safe bet that ICANN will give potential applicants ample time to put together their strategies, seek budget signoff, partner up, and apply before the application round is well under way.