Just one day after Kurt Pritz took over direct oversight of the entire New gTLD program, ICANN announced that it suspended the Digital Archery portion of the New Generic Top-level Domain Program “pending further analysis of the process”, thereby throwing the whole batching process of new gTLD applications into limbo.
“The primary reason is that applicants have reported that the timestamp system returns unexpected results depending on circumstances. ”
“Independent analysis also confirmed the variances, some as a result of network latency, others as a result of how the timestamp system responds under differing circumstances.”
“The timestamp window was due to close on 28 June. ”
As of 23 June, approximately 20 percent of applications had a registered timestamp.”
“Given public comment regarding the timestamp process and that many applicants had yet to register a timestamp, the decision was taken to suspend the system now, pending further analysis of the process.”
“The evaluation process will continue to be executed as designed. Independent firms are already performing test evaluations to promote consistent application of evaluation criteria. The time it takes to delegate TLDs will depend on the number and timing of batches.”
“The suspension provides time to investigate technical concerns. ICANN’s staff and Board will continue to listen to community comment about digital archery and batching.”
“The information gathered from community input to date and here in Prague will be weighed by the New gTLD Committee of the Board.”
The Committee will work to ensure that community sentiment is fully understood and to avoid disruption to the evaluation schedule.”
Many companies started Digital Archery Service for applicants who wanted to increase their chances of landing in the 1st round. Most, if not all of these were to be paid only on successful completion of getting into the top 1 or 2 batches.
That business model maybe dead and those who paid in advance may want to ask for a refund.