ICANN began accepting applications for new gTLDs January 12th, 2012. This means that if you have the tech-savvy, experience and organization ready to operate your own registry, you could run the next .com!
With over 100 million domains already registered at Verisign, starting at number 1 is an exciting new prospect for businesses and existing domain owners! Popular domains that are already taken in the .com extension will be available in a wider field of newly accepted extensions.
Lots work was undertaken by ICANN to begin accepting applications for new gTLDs. So far organizations with new registrations and domain extension applications have been pouring in. ICANN already has it’s hands full just managing the TLD Application System (TAS) as it’s already lost some applications along the way.
Out of a large list of the potential extensions are some great new ideas and organizations behind them. The highlights for us are .shop, .web, .bank, .hotel, .eco, to name but a few.
A large number of participants and organizations are behind each new domain extension application. For example, the Dot Eco Community Council includes global organizations like Green Cross, Greenpeace and WWF to international groups like the Akatu Institute of Brazil and the Green Belt Movement of Kenya.
Whether you’ve applied or not, your next question might be: “It’s after 12 January. What happens next?”
Organizations who choose to apply to operate a top-level domain have merely begun a journey that will most likely carry them into 2013. If you’re curious about the next phases of ICANN’s New gTLD Program, here are highlights of what to expect summarized below:
29 March: Registration Closes
In the online TLD Application System (TAS), an applicant must first register, and then apply.
12 April: Application Window Closes
This is the last day ICANN accepts applications, including all evaluation fees, for a gTLD.
1 May: “Reveal Day”
After checking all applications for essential completeness, ICANN will publicly post all TLD character strings that have been applied for, and who applied for each.
12 June: Initial Evaluation Begins
Beginning 12 June, various evaluation panels will conduct the string reviews and applicant reviews that make up the Initial Evaluation.
12 November: Results of Initial Evaluation
The initial evaluation period ends. ICANN posts the outcome of Initial Evaluation; whether applications have passed or failed evaluation.
29 November: Last day to request Extended Evaluation
The Extended Evaluation period allows for one more exchange of information between the applicant and evaluators, to clarify information in the application.
30 November: Later phases for complex applications
In the ideal case, an application that has encountered no problems has passed evaluation by this date.
As you can see, the New gTLD Program forecasts a busy 2012. Some new gTLDs will clear the process late in the year, and be ready for delegation in early 2013. Other new gTLDs will have a longer path.
The dates listed here are based on the estimated timeframes as laid out in the Applicant Guidebook. Should the volume of applications or other circumstances require adjustment to the timeframes, ICANN will post updated information.
Now you know what else to expect from the New gTLD Program this calendar year.