In our May 2011 issue of Acumen, we published an article about the new generic top-level domain (gTLD) program to be launched by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).
On 20 June 2011, ICANN's Board of Directors approved the plan to proceed with the gTLD program. As a result, the number of gTLDs will increase from the current 22 (which includes .com, .org and .net) to possibly hundreds or even thousands. The new gTLDs are likely to be well-known company names and descriptive terms.
Applications for new gTLDs will be accepted from 12 January 2012 to 12 April 2012. The user registration period will also commence on 12 January 2012 but will close earlier on 29 March 2012. ICANN plans to complete the Initial Evaluation for all applications in a period of approximately 5 months (unless the volume of applications significantly exceeds 500, in which case the 5 month timeline will not be met.) ICANN warns applicants that due to required processing steps (i.e. online user registration, application submission, fee submission and fee reconciliation), it might take substantial time to perform all of the necessary steps to submit a complete application, and urges applicants not to wait until the end of the submission period.
A further draft of the Applicant Guidebook (a rule book explaining how to apply for a new gTLD) was released on 19 September and is now available.
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