With the number of applications for new generic Top Level Domains exceeding most expectations, the Association of National Advertisers has written to ICANN asking for an extension of the public comment window.
Whether this is another stalling tactic or a legitimate request is unknown, as the ANA has been vociferous in opposing the introduction of new gTLDs since they realised their introduction was close to a fait accompli.
The ANA say that due to the large number of applications, they are asking ICANN for more time to review the numerous policy and technical issues that have come to light since the 1,930 applications were first revealed.
For over five years the ANA ignored the policy making process that ICANN conducted where all interested parties could comment. And when approval for the applicant guidebook was nigh, the ANA began a campaign to oppose their introduction, largely because they feared their members would be forced to register many more domains to protect themselves against cybersquatters.
“The number of applications ICANN received exceeded even their most optimistic projections,” said Bob Liodice, ANA’s President and CEO. “A 60-day comment window may have been sufficient for 500 applications, but with nearly 2,000, we believe more time is needed for the public at large to understand fully what the implications of these new TLDs will be.”
“Public comments play an important role in ICANN’s multistakeholder, deliberative process,” Liodice continued. “Affording interested parties the ability to evaluate these critically important applications is necessary to preserve and protect the efficient operating of the TLD system going forward. Due to the complex nature of many of the applications, 60 days may not be enough time to craft a coherent comment on them.”
The ANA note there is precedence for extending the comment period. ICANN’s Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC) recently extended the comment period for its Early Warning period they note. And the ANA sees no reason why this same policy cannot be extended to the public comment period on new gTLDs.