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ICANNís New gTLD Revolution Will be televised, tweeted, liked and poked..!
Roll up, Roll up! New gTLDs for everyone! Well, not everyone it seems, but read on to find out what all the hype is surrounding the latest long awaited update to the Internet namespace infrastructure.
6 years in the planning and 45 public comment requests later, the new gTLD programme has finally arrived. Today ICANN opens its doors to corporations, institutions, governments, entrepreneurs, sponsored communities and many more like-minded applicants looking to obtain their own unique piece of Internet real estate. Some claim this is the biggest change to the Internet since the creation of ICANN itself back in 1998.
ICANN believe the launching of the new gTLD program will introduce competition, innovation and choice but its also well publicised that owning and operating a new gTLD is not possible for everyone. This is due in part to the steep initial financial investment along with the high levels of skill required in many business realms including the technical, legal, and marketing sectors.
The application stage of the new gTLD program is open for 3 months, from January 12th 2012 to April 12th 2012 and the last date for Registration of an application account is the 29th March, 2012. The application program is a lengthy process, and not only do applicants need to provide the funds for the application, a mere $185,000! They also need to satisfy other exacting criteria in the initial evaluation stages which include the answering of 50 questions to prove their ability to finance and support the operation of registry services.
Once the application window is closed, the planned timeline is that these new gTLD applications will be made public in April, added to the Root Zone in November and be ready to begin the registration process in early 2013. There is a period within the first 5 months where objections to specific applications can be raised, although these objections are not raised with ICANN directly but with one of the DRSPs (Dispute Resolution Service Providers).
This round of new gTLD applications is the first addition to gTLDs since 2004 and ICANN have not confirmed if or when there will be a second round of applications, although they have suggested the long term intention is to have a rolling application process. Is this marketing at work to maximise applications? With no timeline confirmed for the next round of applications, organisations wanting to secure their .brand or .city are unlikely to risk missing out.
Estimates are in that the Application process alone from start to finish could potentially cost in excess of $500,000, and that the documentation required for a successful application could reach 300 pages. Hundreds or possibly thousands of new gTLDs will be introduced to the Internet and while it is far too early to gauge how successful the new gTLDs will be, there are nearly as many dissenting voices as positive ones in the forums and in the press. Its fair to say that the online world is going to be excited, inspired, amused and confused when the registrations go live in early 2013.Domainmonster.com