The ICANN meeting got under way in Colombia yesterday and the new gTLD’s were back front and center.
There were two sessions on the new gTLD program today and my general take away from listening to the many people who got up and spoke during the sessions is that the applicants and service providers are getting tired of the process and want ICANN to move ahead NOW.
While there is still some opposition and some cautionary voices, their voices are much less than number than they were just a few months ago in Brussels.
While Beckstrom again acknowledged the receipt of the letter from the Department of Commerce last week, objecting to the approval of the new gTLD program this week, he said ICANN would just take that letter in into consideration, along with all the other comments they received under the comment period for the new Guidebook that closes this Friday.
So my feelings remain unchanged.
ICANN is going to push this new gTLD program through and soon.
Most commentators are brushing off the requirement that the US Department of Commerce raised regarding ICANN not completing its economic study”.
Many people made the point that such “studies” cannot predict what the effect of 500 new extensions will have on existing extensions or how effective or successful they will be.
“You can no more predict what effect these new extensions will have on .com’s or how many .music registrations there will be in 2 years than you can predict what the Dow Jones will be at in 2 years or what the exchange rate between the dollar and the euro will be 2 years from now.” said one commentator.
That sentiment was repeated many times by various people.
The fact is NO ONE on earth KNOWS what the result will be of adding 500 new extensions to the root and governance of an organization which now manages 21 extensions.
You have your opinion.
I have mine.
And 1,000 other people at the ICANN meeting have there’s.
“Time to move on” is the most heard comment at the meeting.
“Go” is also pretty popular.
There is no doubt that outside of real communities such as cities that apply for extension, the guidebook provides a playing field for lawyers to earn a nice living for years to come.
Litigation will be part of the process for many new gTLD’s where extensions involving community status is requested and/or granted.
Anyone disqualified from owning a new gTLD is going to file suit.
Anyone denied community status is going to file suit.
Anyone who applied for an extension in which someone else was granted community status is going to file suit.
This is the realty of the process.
A few other observations and facts from the 1st day
Excluding those considered wealthy in Colombia, the average family consists of 5-7 people and have an average monthly income of $250 USD per month.
Yes think about that one for a while.
The 1,000 per year limit that ICANN had previous announced for new gTLD that would be permitted in any year, was clairfied yesterday as not being a perminate number.
ICANN specifically stated that this number could be increased or decrease after the first year, depending on results.
So in the future you could see thousands or even tens of thousands of new gTLD’s in a year.
There is a rumor going around that ICANN may pay former President Bill Clinton any amount of between $500K-1M to speak in at the SF ICANN meeting in March.
Lets hope ICANN does not spend our money in this fashion.
ICANN says they are going to hire 75 evaluators to handle the 500 applications.
It will be interesting to see if that number of people can effectively process 500 applications having never done one before.
Some are making the point that some governmental bodies like cities can not agree to binding aberrations and some of the other provisions required by the Guidebook.
I will report on today’s events in a blog post tomorrow.