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Earlier this April, the largest ICANN meeting ever — more than 2,500 attendees — kicked off in Beijing. Given the imminent addition of hundreds of “dot Brands” to the Internet, the topic of new gTLDs was at the top of the discussion list for all attendees. So far, well over 100 new gTLD applications have passed the Initial Evaluation stage, meaning they’re on their way to becoming live domains.
GAC advice is becoming the single biggest area of uncertainty for new TLD applicants. It not only appears to adjust requirements approved by the community in the Applicant Guidebook, it also is evolving with each new communique.
One reporter noted, “It looks like at least 517 new gTLD applications [may] be affected by the GAC’s advice.” I’m sure there will be many more discussions about this topic.
Registrar Accreditation Agreement (RAA) and Registry Agreement
ICANN CEO Fadi Chehade announced newly revised versions of both the 2013 Registrar Accreditation Agreement and Registry Agreement, which are now posted for public comment. ICANN is looking at ways to keep the debate over these contracts from delaying the overall application process.
Earlier, in March, the Trademark Clearinghouse (TMCH) opened. TMCH allows brand owners to submit their trademark data into one centralized database, prior to and during the launch of new gTLDs. Since opening, the pace of sign-ups by both individual mark owners and agents has been rapid, ensuring the long-term success of the TMCH project.
With ICANN 47 in Durban, South Africa coming up in mid-July, many of these subjects will continue to be discussed and, hopefully, resolved in the weeks ahead.