That’s it! After months of hard work, and over a month of system-down time the TLD applications system (TAS) has closed, signaling the end of the New gTLD application period. ICANN will not accept any more applications for New TLDs for a while — probably a long while.
The road forward for new TLD applicants is likely to be a long and windy one. So far, here is what applicants have to look forward to:
June 13: Reveal Day!!
This is the day ICANN will post all applied for TLD strings and who applied for them. If you are an applicant, this is a big day for you!
Once the strings and applicants have been publicly posted, ICANN will begin the public comment process. This 60-day window allows for any interested parties to submit comments about the strings and their applicants. These comments may be considered by evaluation panels.
ICANN will also open up the objection filing period on reveal day. This will give any party with sufficient “grounds” an opportunity to submit a formal objection to any submitted applications. This period will remain open for 7 full months.
Batch Selection Process
ICANN has stated that it can only evaluate approximately 500 applications at a given time. Since there are approximately 2,000 applications in the queue some applicants will have to be very patient. You can play a game of “digital archery” to determine which batch your application will be evaluated in. ICANN anticipates beginning the batch selection process on the 8th of June and announcing the results on July 11, 2012. This would allow the Initial Evaluation of the first batch of applications to begin on July 12th.
According the New gTLD applicant guidebook, a straightforward application could get though the evaluation process and delegation in about 9 months. This would put the earliest TLD launches somewhere around this time next year.
The second half of 2012 should be exciting!