This is going to be my last post about the Dot Nxt Conference but an important one.
In the audience from Dot Nxt was a women from Nigeria from a region known as Delta and she was at the conference to try to learn about getting .Delta for her community.
Of course there are many other potential applicants for a .Delta including Delta Airlines and Delta Faucet.
In the session on “Evaluation and Disputes” the issue was raise how this small community could wind up with .Delta and frankly the answer was not very encouraging for her.
While ICANN has chatted about offering some poor communities financial assistance to reduced the normal application fees of $185k to something less, the young women from Delta found out there would be no such help coming in offsetting other fees and costs which will be could be quite substantial.
Objection fees paid to ICANN, expert witnesses, three member panels, travel expenses for the panelists and then attorney fees.
If you just want to be a nuisance objector and stall an application its going to cost you somewhere around $20K-$50K
If your going to for an all out fight you should budget yourself for something into the six figures for a contention or objection.
Maybe hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Of course the applicant is may have to spend likewise to fight a contention or objection.
So where does that leave our friend from Nigeria if Delta Airlines and/or Delta Faucets or other companies with Delta in their TM name anywhere in the world want to make application?
Pretty much screwed.
The panelist Derek Newman of Newman & Newman (a Lawyer whose clients include; TLD registries, registrars, new-TLD applicants, back-end registry service providers, and brand owners), suggested that best the community of Delta might hope for is that one of Delta companies who seriously want .Delta may give the community something to go away and drop their objection.
However the community is still going to have to find the money to go through the objection process (In the case of Delta Nigeria they may not have a huge problem because it appears they have some oil) but the same situation is going to arise from a lot of communities that aren’t fortunate enough to have some oil.
A few other sticky points:
The final guidebook is now overdue, by most accounts people expected the final version to be out before now.
After passing the new gTLD program ICANN said they were going to put on a road show to inform the public about the new gTLD program but not only hasn’t the education series started ICANN hasn’t really announced any locations or dates and the application period opens in 4 1/2 months.
Other than the ICANN meeting in Africa which is going to be lightly attended the education series need to be happening as we speak.
The amount of the application fee that the poor communities would be subsidized by ICANN hasn’t been set.
The Guidebook doesn’t provide for what happens if a new gTLD operator wants to call it quits at some point. Logically the first step would be for the operator to find a buyer but failing that no one knows what happens to the extension. Does it just go away? Can someone else make a new application for it down the road in a future round? Or will it be blocked forever as a conflicting string?
ICANN’s budget for the new gTLD program which is suppose to based a on cost recovery system doesn’t take into account even $1 in revenue as coming from auctions of conflicting application when some expect the top generic extensions to draw bids into the tens of millions of dollars. What is ICANN going to do with what is likely hundreds of millions in extra revenue?
While those inside the community of service providers keep looking at the starting date for applications to be accepted, January 12, 2012, it seems to me many applicants are looking at the last day for submission of April 12, 2012.
Waiting until the last minute maybe a huge issue as the applications and the surrounding rules are complicated and not well suited for last minute application.
Human nature tells me most people will put things off as long as possible and wait for the last minute to get things done.
This is a problem.
For one, all but of the back end operators who spoke at the Dot Nxt show expressed that they would NOT accept a client seeking the same string they already had a signed contract for.
There are a small number of back end providers, maybe less than 10 on earth right now and with the exception of Neustar that publicly stated they would accept applications from competing strings, the other will not.
Meaning that those who wait too long may have a hard time finding a back end provider.
There are still plenty of issues and challenges and time is getting short for those who have interest in applying for their own TLD and for ICANN.