GAC Threatens Further Delays To New gTLD Approvals

ICANN logoICANN’s Governmental Advisory Committee has written to ICANN advising of concerns with the approach to processing new generic Top Level Domain applications, with the implication the programme will be even further delayed.

“The GAC shares many of the concerns that have already been expressed by members of the ICANN community with regard to ICANN’s digital archery and batching processes,” writes Heather Dryden, the GAC Chair. “These processes appear to significantly impact the timeframes for assessing and delegating new gTLDs.”

Dryden highlights “competition and fairness concerns being raised within the community [suggesting] that ICANN may not have fully considered the implications of these processes, and highlights the need to fully consult with the community before taking decisions of this magnitude. In short, the GAC is concerned that the potential risks associated with the digital archery and batching mechanisms may outweigh the benefits.”

The GAC urges ICANN to consult with the community “as a matter of urgency to consider ways to improve its assessment and delegation processes in order to minimise the downside risks and uncertainty for applicants. In line with the concerns raised by the community, this should include a focus on competition and fairness with delegation timing. The GAC intends to address the issue of the digital archery and batching system at the Prague meeting with the Board.”

“The GAC also seeks information about how ICANN intends to evaluate the effect of delegating the first batch in relation to root zone stability issues and, moreover, how this evaluation will influence the timetable for the following batches.”

The GAC, which will be required to comment on the introduction of any new gTLDs said in its letter that:
Given the delays to the gTLD application process, the timing of upcoming ICANN meetings, and the amount of work involved, the GAC advises the Board that it will not be in a position to offer any advice on new gTLD applications in 2012. For this reason, the GAC is considering the implications of providing any GAC advice on gTLD applications. These considerations are not expected to be finalised before the Asia-Pacific meeting in April 2013.