ICANN just published it long awaited New gTLD String Similarity Contention Sets fand quite surprisingly just put four non-matching applications into two contention sets.
ICANN placed the new gTLD application for:
.Hoteis by Despegar Online SRL into the same contention set as the application by Booking.com for .Hotels
ICANN however, did not include the 7 applications for .Hotel into the contention set for .Hotels.
It should also be noted that the applicant for .Hoteis also has an application for .Hotels.
The only other non-matching contention set by ICANN was the brand application for .Unicom filed by China United Network Communications Corporation Limited with the application for .Unicorn filed by Unicorn a.s.
The rest of the contention sets announced by ICANN today, were direct matching applications for which there are 230.
The only caveat is that the announcement by ICANN says it is “New gTLD String Similarity Contention Sets as of 26 February 2013”, and doesn’t say if it is the final set or whether there might be additional changes.
Many applicants and others in the ICANN community speculated as to what new gTLD applications would be put with other similar applications increasing the number of applications in contention and/or increasing the number of contention sets.
The announcement by ICANN tonight on Contention sets is one of the last open questions before initial evaluations are announced starting in March.