Category Archives: New gTLDs

News about new generic Top Level Domains

AusRegistry International Enhances Global Offering And Rebrands As ARI Registry Services

AusRegistry International evolves into ARI Registry Services – The only TLD registry services provider to offer new TLD applicants a choice for their registry’s primary geographic location.

[news release] In a landmark announcement, AusRegistry International today unveiled a new corporate strategy which will see it deploy TLD registry infrastructure and resources in the United States to become the first ever provider to offer the choice between two ‘primary’ locations for the operation of a Top-Level Domain (TLD) registry.

To complement this dynamic shift, AusRegistry International also announced it will rebrand to ARI Registry Services in a move that supports the continued expansion of the business into global markets.

The strategy, which has been built on the back of a number of recent client wins in the US market, has been developed to position the company as a truly global provider of TLD registry services. The option of infrastructure on US soil confirms the company’s commitment to the global market. This will mean customers choosing ARI Registry Services will now have two options for the location of their registry infrastructure; Australia and the United States.

Adrian Kinderis, CEO of ARI Registry Services, said the announcement marked a milestone for the company.

“This is a milestone we have been working towards for some time and one I believe will deliver great benefits to our clients,” Mr Kinderis said. “We have always based our business on listening to our clients’ needs and ensuring that we are continually responding to their requirements. ARI Registry Services will be the first TLD registry services provider to offer multiple options for primary registry location – namely Australia and the United States. This has important implications for new TLD applicants as it specifically addresses the global reach of the program. It also provides a sound foundation in the United States and a unique point of difference as we edge closer to the opening of the new TLD application window.”

Mr Kinderis explained that there is a misguided sentiment in the market that registry performance is significantly affected due to location. However, he explained that this was not a driver for the decision.

Mr Kinderis said there are several reasons why applicants benefit from choosing their TLD registry’s primary location. These include addressing concerns about overzealous governments, privacy and ownership laws, political environments and financial benefits including currency fluctuations. There is also the added peace of mind that comes with having a registry closer to headquarters.

“Recent client wins in the US and our continued investment in our own DNS network clearly show that our Australian based infrastructure can perfectly service the needs of our US and European clients. This is a move to address a gap in the market we have identified.”

Mr Kinderis said that while this new corporate strategy was a catalyst for the new ARI Registry Services brand refresh, another reason for the change was to provide some clarity about the often maligned origins of the company in Australia.

“This is an exciting time for the company and the move to ARI Registry Services represents a huge leap forward in the evolution of the company and its positioning,” Mr Kinderis said. “We are the first to admit that the ‘Aus’ reference in our previous name incorrectly positioned us as a smaller, geographically focused organisation, which did create some issues with our plans for global expansion. Despite the fact we have an office and staff in the United States and clients situated in four of the seven continents around the world, there remained some belief that our services were somewhat isolated in Australia. We hope the name change and brand refresh, combined with our new corporate strategy, will help propel us even further into the global market.”

Mr Kinderis said: “Our new corporate strategy to host TLD registry infrastructure in the US and Australia places ARI Registry Services in an industry–leading position. To complement this, we have refreshed our brand image to better reflect where we are heading as an organisation.”

Mr Kinderis emphasised that the foundation created by AusRegistry International will not be forgotten.

“ARI Registry Services is an evolution of AusRegistry International and the same staff and product offerings will be maintained as the company moves forward with its new corporate image,” Mr Kinderis said.

Both the new corporate strategy and brand refresh for ARI Registry Services are currently being implemented. It is expected that this entire process will take approximately six months to complete and will be finished in time for the introduction of new TLDs next year.

Mr Kinderis will begin a month long world tour this week to assist in the global launch of the new ARI Registry Services’ corporate strategy. He will attend the GITEX technology conference in Dubai from 6 to 10 October, before moving onto Europe for client meetings. Following this, Mr Kinderis will then visit Africa where he will attend the ICANN conference in Dakar from 23 to 28 October. Following the ICANN conference, Mr Kinderis will return to Australia before departing to the US to attend client meetings in Los Angeles and New York.

This ARI Registry Services news release was sourced from:
ausregistry.com/news-global-rebrand.php

Domain Pulse also recommends checking out NewTLDs.com for all your new generic Top Level Domain needs.

American Association of National Advertisers Huff And Puff Over New gTLDs

They might have been asleep through ICANN’s extensive consultation process over the introduction of new generic Top Level Domains, but the Association of National Advertisers, an American association representing more than 400 companies, is stamping their feet trying to drum up some support for their belated opposition to new generic Top Level Domains (gTLDs).The ANA has called for ICANN to conduct a systematic review” of its ethics policies according to a Bloomberg report.In a letter not yet published on the ICANN website, nor on the ANA website, the ANA says the failure of ICANN to close “numerous loopholes” in its conflict-of-interest policy “would raise the most profound questions as to the ability of ICANN to represent the public interest,” says Robert Liodice, president of the Association of National Advertisers, in his 2 October letter to the ICANN CEO and president Rod Beckstrom.According to the Bloomberg report, the letter was also sent to officials at the White House and U.S. Commerce Department, as well as members of the U.S. Senate and House.The letter appears to be a belated attempt for the ANA to make up for their lack of participation, made up of one submission, to the new gTLD consultation process. Possibly even an attempt to save face with some of their member organisations.The letter is undoubtedly a way for the ANA to save face after being embarrassed by having minimal input into the new gTLD consultation process. The ANA’s Liodice made several claims in a letter to ICANN dated 4 August that in response Beckstrom noted were “either incorrect or problematic in several respects. Perhaps the most severe mischaracterizations concern the ICANN process.”The ANA even appear to have embarrassingly forgotten, a point that Beckstrom reminded them of, they submitted a number of suggestions in December 2008 that ICANN either wholly or largely incorporated.Despite the latest posturing from the ANA, it will be interesting to see how many of their members apply for new gTLDs. At least one of their members, Canon, have said they will be applying for their own gTLD so it is apparent not all members support their views.Previous correspondence with ICANN appears on the ICANN website, and the abovementioned letter should also appear shortly, at www.icann.org/en/correspondence.The Bloomberg report is available at www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-10-03/internet-overseer-should-review-ethics-policy-ad-group-says-1-.html.

Short, Memorable Domains Will Assist Consumers Finds Melbourne IT DBS

Short, memorable domain names are advantageous for internet consumers finding the website they want, according to market research conducted on behalf of Melbourne IT Digital Brand Services (Melbourne IT DBS) in the US and UK.The research, that will undoubtedly be used to encourage businesses to sign on for their very own generic Top Level Domain (gTLD) found that a minority of consumers, albeit a sizeable minority, actually typed in the domain name they desired.In the UK, a quarter (25%) of respondents said they navigated directly to a company website by remembering an advertised web address. When most consumers go online to make their purchases, the research found that 60 per cent use search engines such as Google to try to find the products they have either seen or heard advertised.In the US, when respondents were asked how they usually navigate to the websites of products or companies advertised on TV, radio or in print, over one third (35%) of the respondents type the advertiser’s brand or product name into a search engine and navigate from there while again, around one quarter (26%) begin by typing the web address into a search engine. When trying to find the official site of a product or service they had seen or heard advertised, two thirds (67%) of consumers admitted to ending up on a completely different website than the official site they had intended to visit, via a search engine.”Big consumer brands spend millions on advertising, sponsorships and their in-store retail presence. But with consumers using the web to actually make their purchase, and the high chance of those consumers getting sidetracked in doing so, that offline investment loses its value,” Melbourne IT DBS’ European Sales Director, Stuart Durham, said.Jonathan Freeman, Senior Lecturer in Psychology at Goldsmiths University of London, has been studying online consumer behaviour for more than a decade. “The current domain name system is not as simple as it could be,” Freeman said. “Brand based domain names provide a much more direct index and, as a result, they should be much easier for consumers to remember. I imagine the concept should be very attractive to brand owners who want consumers to use their web address. Using the new approach will make direct access to websites feel as intuitive and natural as typing the company or product name into a search engine, but with the benefit that consumers will know exactly where they will get to.”Consumers had concerns around trust when shopping online. In the British research, 51 one per cent of consumers online felt it was difficult to differentiate between websites selling genuine goods and those who sold fake or counterfeit items, and an overwhelming 83% agreed that online brands should take greater action to help consumers tell the difference between websites selling genuine goods from those sites selling counterfeit goods.In the US, differentiating legitimate online brands from websites selling counterfeit or fake goods was also desired by shoppers online with four in five (80%) American respondents thinking online brands should better help consumers tell the difference between websites selling genuine goods from websites selling counterfeit or fake goods.”The rise of counterfeit goods online has the potential to erode trust in the online shopping experience and it’s clear from the results that consumers are looking to brands to make every possible effort to show that their sites and those of their retail partners can be trusted,” Mr Durham said.In a plug for their services to assist applicants with their .BRAND TLD applications and operation, Mr Durham said “securing a ‘.brand’ domain name will deliver brand owners a trustworthy digital anchor for their brand. A .brand has the potential to create significant benefits for marketers, including memorable domains for increased direct navigation by consumers, shorter domains for mobile web users, and an indisputable mark of trust for those consumers looking for reassurance they are buying authentic goods online.”The research of 2,069 UK consumers online, conducted by YouGov while in the US The polling company, Inc. conducted the nationwide online survey of 1,007 American adults.To read more on the UK research, click here while more information on the US research is available here.

ICANN: Protecting Trademark Rights for New gTLDs: ICANN Seeks Service Providers for Trademark Clearinghouse Operation


(Trademark Clearinghouse or “TMCH” Service Providers)

ICANN is issuing today a Request for Information (RFI) [PDF, 243 KB] to identify potential Trademark Clearinghouse (TMCH) Service Providers. The Trademark Clearinghouse will provide a set of rights protection mechanisms that are part of ICANN”s program to make new top-level domains widely available.

The primary purpose of the TMCH is to function as an information repository, offering authentication and validation services for trademark data. Trademark holders and gTLD registry operators will rely on the TMCH to support rights protection mechanisms for the new gTLD space. The TMCH is designed to be available globally, with capabilities for validating trademark data in multiple scripts and responding to inquiries in multiple languages.

Part of ICANN”s core mission is to preserve the operational security and stability of the Internet while also supporting open competition. With the upcoming launch of the New generic Top-Level Domain (New gTLD) Program, the Internet community will see the introduction of a number of new gTLD namespaces. To ensure that the new gTLD program gave appropriate consideration to trademark protection, ICANN”s Board passed a resolution on 6 March 2009 to form an Implementation Recommendation Team (IRT) to seek enhanced solutions supporting trademark protection. One recommendation was the establishment of a Trademark Clearinghouse (TMCH).

Candidates for operating the TMCH are expected to meet the requirements outlined in the RFI, which include, for example, a demonstrated understanding of the issues concerning global intellectual property rights and the Internet, global capability to authenticate and validate trademark information, and experience designing, building, and operating secure transaction processing systems with 24/7/365 availability. ICANN seeks candidates with a proven ability to manage and support processes in multiple languages, in addition to fulfillment of the technical requirements.

RFI activities schedule at a glance:

Request for information issued by ICANN 3 October 2011
Respondents” Q&A – Teleconference On or about 4 November 2011
Written responses due 25 November 2011 – 23:59 UTC
Public announcement of provider engagement 14 Februrary 2012

The deadline for responses is 25 November 2011 at 23:59 UTC. Responses should be submitted to: tm-clearinghouse-rfi@icann.org. Responses received after the deadline will not be considered.

Q&A

What is the TMCH?

The TMCH serves as an information repository that will accept and maintain data relating to trademark rights, including both registered and unregistered rights, and will support registration processes in ASCII and IDN gTLDs.

What is a TMCH Service Provider?

The functions of data authentication/validation and database administration may be performed by a single service provider or by two separate service providers. Respondent proposals will be accepted for:

  • performance of the data authentication/validation function of the TMCH; or
  • performance of the database administration function of the TMCH; or
  • performance of both the data authentication/validation functions and the database administration functions of the TMCH.

The foremost considerations for selection of the TMCH service provider(s) will be the ability to authenticate, validate, store and disseminate the data at the highest level of technical stability and security without interference with the integrity or timeliness of the gTLD registration process or registry operations.

What are the key functions?

Functions that are critical to the operation of the TMCH include:

  • Trademark Claims and Sunrise Services – Provide transactional services that allow parties such as registries and/or registrars to rapidly obtain information necessary to conduct Sunrise and Trademark Claims services for new gTLDs.
  • Database Operation – Maintain the repository of relevant trademark data while providing services for conducting searches and integrating with TMCH operations.
  • Data Authentication and Validation – Establish and execute standard processes for authentication of trademark rights information, validation of proof-of-use information, and verification of contact information.
  • Customer Service – Answer questions, resolve issues, and provide support for use of TMCH services.
  • Language Support – Conduct TMCH operations in multiple languages.

Who will use the TMCH and when?

With the launch of the new gTLD program, new gTLD operators will be required to offer services that are supported solely by the TMCH for a sunrise period of at least 30 days, and for an initial operating period during the first 60 days of general registration. Beyond that period, registries may optionally continue to use the TMCH trademark claims services but these are not mandated beyond the initial time periods specified for any given new gTLD.

What kind of information is ICANN requesting and who should respond?

Respondents should be parties interested in committing themselves as potential TMCH operators. The RFI covers numerous areas, but respondents should be prepared to discuss the following:

  • How they can scale quickly to meet the demands of a large number of transactions;
  • How they will provide and manage the availability of services to users 24×7, 365 days a year;
  • The capabilities they have to support processes in multiple languages;
  • The capabilities they have to provide global trademark authentication and validation services;
  • Their experience and expertise in trademark protection issues; and
  • Their ability to work with ICANN and the community to refine core business processes and evolve the TMCH operation.

Background

The IRT, consisting of 18 geographically diverse subject matter experts from the intellectual property arena, made several recommendations to enhance trademark protection (see www.icann.org/en/topics/new-gtlds/irt-final-report-trademark-protection-29may09-en.pdf [PDF, 299 KB]). The original proposal has undergone multiple revision cycles based on ICANN”s public comment process, resulting in the current model. The requirements for the TMCH have been defined at a high level and will be refined through the RFI and subsequent processes.

The overall goals of the TMCH are to:

  • Support rights protection mechanisms in the gTLD program;
  • Operate cost-effective services that do not place undue financial or administrative burdens on trademark holders, registrars, and registries; and
  • Establish an ongoing partnership with stakeholders to evolve the TMCH so that it remains an efficient, value-added service provider for the IP and gTLD communities.

On 22 June 2011, the TMCH was discussed at the ICANN meetings in Singapore, where participants took part in a working session on a straw-man implementation model (singapore41.icann.org/node/24629). Development of the models for mandatory Sunrise and Trademark claims processes will continue while ICANN evaluates responses to this RFI.

This ICANN announcement was sourced from:
www.icann.org/en/announcements/announcement-5-03oct11-en.htm

ICANN: Coordination Team Formed for IDN Variant Issues Project

The benefits and risks associated with the potential delegation of variant TLDs have been widely discussed. On 20 April 2011, ICANN announced the initiation of the IDN Variant Issues Project. This project is dedicated to identifying the issues involved in the delegation and use of IDN Variant TLDs.

To achieve that goal, on 9 June 2011, ICANN announced the formation of six case study teams – Arabic, Devanagari, Chinese, Cyrillic, Greek and Latin scripts. Since then, these teams have been working hard on identifying issues involved in IDN Variant TLDs in their particular scripts with the expectation that each of these teams will publish their reports prior to the ICANN meeting in Dakar (24-28 October). After that, a final integrated issues report will be published, describing the challenges associated.

IDN Variant Issues Project Phases

Figure 1 – The project incorporates individual script case studies, a synthesis of the issues, and an additional phase toward developing solutions.

Today, the first of the reports are being published for public comment:

  • Chinese Case Study Report
  • Devanagari Case Study Report
  • The remaining case study reports (Arabic, Cyrillic, Greek and Latin) are expected shortly and will be posted for public comment.

Additionally, we are pleased to announce the formation of a team, comprised of experts from the case study teams, who will advise ICANN in completing a consolidated issues report that will summarize and synthesize the issues identified by the case study teams. The group”s work in preparation of this consolidated report is scheduled to start in October at the ICANN public meeting in Dakar, Senegal.

The individual members of the issues report coordination team (listed below) have expertise in the areas of: DNS, IDNA, linguistics, security and scalability, policy, registry/registrar operations, and community representation.

An all-day working session of the coordination team members only is being planned for the Dakar meeting, followed by an open public session at which representatives from the case study teams and the ICANN project team will present the case studies and provide an update on the consolidated issues report.

Interested members of the community can receive updates and participate in the discussions of this work by subscribing to vip@icann.org mailing list (https://mm.icann.org/mailman/listinfo/vip) or by visiting https://community.icann.org/display/VIP/.

Issues Report Coordination Team

  1. Harald Alvestrand
  2. Raiomond Doctor
  3. Neha Gupta
  4. Sarmad Hussain
  5. Manal Ismail
  6. Akshat Joshi
  7. Cary Karp
  8. Mahesh Kulkarni
  9. Xiaodong Lee
  10. Evangelos Melagrakis
  11. Panagiotis Papaspiliopoulos
  12. Vaggelis Segredakis
  13. James Seng
  14. Vladimir Shadrunov
  15. Alexei Sozonov
  16. Joseph Yee

This ICANN announcement was sourced from:
www.icann.org/en/announcements/announcement-4-03oct11-en.htm

Afilias Launches International Contest To Explore Innovative Uses Of New TLDs

Afilias logo“Global Innovation Contest for New TLD Ideas” represents first-of-its-kind competition for defining new domain concepts

[news release] Afilias Limited, a leading Internet registry services provider, today (3 October) announced a rapid-fire contest to generate ideas for new top-level domains (new TLDs). As organizations consider whether or not to invest in new TLDs under the forthcoming ICANN New TLD program, they may not consider all the possibilities for new TLDs. The “Afilias Global Innovation Contest for New TLD Ideas” is designed to address that issue.

With this contest, Afilias is looking for unique new TLD ideas, whether that domain is a “dot Brand” (for a company) or a “dot Niche” (for a concept or community) or a “dot City” domain. The goal is to discover ideas for “right of the dot” domains that cannot be done today with any of the existing domains, like .com or .net.

To help participants generate ideas, Afilias has created a special downloadable e-book — The Afilias New TLD Innovation e-book: Ideas to Stimulate Your Imagination — available on the contest website at http://www.afilias.info/newtldcontest.

“Technology visionary Alan Kay once remarked, ”The best way to predict the future is to invent it,” and that is what our contest is helping to do: invent the future,” said Roland LaPlante, CMO and Senior Vice President of Afilias. “We”re excited to see what powerful ideas people have for new TLDs. The right TLD can change the Internet — and the world — as we know it.”

To ensure the largest number of voices are heard through this contest, the only requirements are that ideas must be submitted by participants of 18 years or older, and are submitted in English via the official contest website at www.afilias.info/newtldcontest. But potential winners need to act quickly: the contest opened on October 3, 2011, and closes on Monday, October 17, 2011, at 11:59 p.m. UTC / 7:59 p.m. Eastern.

Participants will be eligible to win a $5,000 first prize, a $3,000 second prize or a $1,500 third prize.

Winners will be selected by a panel of expert judges. The judging panel will include Paul Twomey (Managing Director, Argo P@cific, former ICANN CEO), Matthew Quint (Associate Director, Center on Global Brand Leadership, Columbia Business School), David Rogers (Executive Director, BRITE, Columbia Business School) and Kevin Murphy (Editor, domainincite.com), along with senior executives from Afilias.

Several of these judges will also participate in a special global webinar on new dot Brand TLDs called,”Who Should Invest in a dot Brand? Evaluating the Business Case for a Top-Level Domain Name.” This free webinar, hosted by the Columbia Business School”s Center on Global Brand Leadership and sponsored by Afilias (Diamond Sponsor) and Glowpoint (Silver Sponsor), will be held at 2 p.m. UTC / 10:00 a.m. Eastern on Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2011.

Afilias” Global Registry and DNS services power 20 million domain registrations across 16 TLDs, including six TLDs operating under ICANN contracts. Afilias” new TLD services include a state-of-the-art EPP registry, a globally diverse and redundant Anycast DNS network, 24×7 call-center and technical support, and links to the global distribution channel. In addition, Afilias provides other premium solutions to augment its registry offerings, including technology to enable mobile phone compatibility for websites and a unique IDN-capable email solution. All Afilias services are DNSSEC and IPv6 ready, and reflect more than 10 years of experience in supporting gTLDs operating under ICANN contracts.

About Afilias
Afilias is a global provider of Internet infrastructure services that connect people to their data. Afilias” reliable, secure, scalable, and globally available technology supports a wide range of applications including Internet domain registry services and Managed DNS. For more information on Afilias” new gTLD services and “Global Innovation Contest for New TLD Ideas,” visit www.afilias.info/newtldcontest.

This Afilias news release was sourced from here.

And Then There Was One .ECO Proposer

A proposal for the .ECO generic Top Level Domain has quietly shelved its idea following the withdrawal of its key backer, the Al Gore-backed Climate Reality Project, leaving the only consortium publicly interested in applying for the gTLD supported by Mikhail Gorbachev, reports The Guardian.The rival bidders, Gore’s Alliance for Climate Protection campaign group and the Canadian company Big Room supported by the Gorbachev-founded charity Green Cross International.Meanwhile, a blog posting on the .ECO website, which is supoported by the Big Room consortium, notes that “most media outlets have been eager to frame the campaign for .ECO as a head-to-head stand-off between Gore’s Alliance for Climate Protection and Gorbachev’s Green Cross International, which is a founding member of our Community Council. While the references to Gore and Gorbachev are inevitable, given their stature, the assumption that the campaign for .ECO has been a power struggle of Cold War proportions is misleading, albeit cinematic.”The Big Room consortium also has the support of Greenpeace, the David Suzuki Foundation and WWF International among several others.While this is now the only consortium that is public in its interest, ICANN’s three month application window does not open until 12 January 2012 and it will not be until after this closes that bidders for various gTLDs will be known.The Guardian report is available at www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2011/sep/28/al-gore-group-eco-domain

Two Irish Tech Supremos Launch Weekly Podcast

Two of Ireland”s best known technology minds have launched a weekly podcast focussing on technology issues, including domain names. With an Irish flavour, Michele Neylon and Conn Ó Muíneacháin have launched Technology.ie focusing on what they know best – the tech industry.

The podcast, which has been in the works for some time is collaboration between Neylon who is the founding director of Irish registrar and hosting company, Blacknight and Ó Muíneacháin of EdgeCast Media, a radio and digital media production company. Both men are well known in the Irish Internet and technology communities.

While both Blacknight and EdgeCast are technology companies, Neylon and Ó Muíneacháin seek to deliver content that reaches farther than their respective industry niches.

The first episode touches on New gTLDs, portable podcasting, profiting from online social media, Teamer.net, Zemanta, the dangers of over-investing resources and attention in a single form of social media and Klout.

“I”ve wanted to do a podcast for quite some time but I didn”t want to focus only on what Blacknight is doing. There are a lot of companies and individuals doing really cool stuff in the broader world of technology and we want to shine a spotlight on them,” said Michele Neylon

A combination of Neylon”s outspoken comic delivery and Ó Muíneacháin”s no-nonsense approach makes the podcast entertaining as well as educational.

“For me,” said Neylon, “Conn is the perfect co-host. We are obsessive about gadgets, websites and online services to the point that we are aware of a lot of new stuff in its early stages. There aren”t a lot of people who can be obsessive on that level and still be great fun to have a conversation with.”

Neylon and Ó Muíneacháin will be sitting down together and with guests every week to discuss the latest gadgets, gossip and the new frontiers of technology.

Visit technology.ie/technology-ie-podcast-1/ to tune in to Technology.ie and listen to the first podcast. You can also subscribe to it via iTunes: itunes.apple.com/ie/podcast/the-technology.ie-pod

Updated Applicant Guidebook provides more clarity for applicants by Tony Kirsch, AusRegistry International

by Tony Kirsch, Top-Level Domain name specialist with AusRegistry InternationalWith less than 110 days to go until the application window opens, ICANN last week released the latest update of the Applicant Guidebook in conjunction with the launch of a new information portal for the new Top-Level Domain program.Although this latest update to the Applicant Guidebook arrived later than originally expected, it is nonetheless welcome because it provides more clarity for potential applicants and reconfirms ICANN’s commitment to the 12 January commencement of the program.Credit must be given where it’s due.First of all, the new microsite looks great and contains all the information necessary for those unfamiliar with the new Top-Level Domain Program to get a basic understanding. Through a number of areas on the site, ICANN provides a decent summary of the hundreds of pages of industry jargon contained in the Applicant Guidebook.By the way, make sure to check out AusRegistry International’s microsite, Beyondcom.info.
Also, the latest update to the Applicant Guidebook is relatively straight forward with no problematic inclusions or hidden surprises.Below is my summary of the changes that are of interest:More blocked strings – ICANN has added the measures required to address specific requests from the Red Cross and International Olympic Committee in which a series of TLDs related to these organisations will be blocked during the initial application round.Assistance for applicants – ICANN confirmed that the Joint Applicant Support (JAS) Working Group continues to evaluate the processes for providing assistance to disadvantaged applicants. Indications are that the results of this Working Group are expected on this in the coming weeks.Uniform Rapid Suspension System (URS) Response Fee Limits – In an adjustment to the previous version of the guidebook, ICANN has now modified the “loser pays” provision in the URS to apply to complaints involving 15 (instead of 26) or more domain names with the same registrant.GAC Early Warning and Advice – The GAC has expressed the intention to develop a standard vocabulary and set of rules for use in providing its advice about applications for new Top-Level Domains. ICANN says this will be published in the future and there may be additional updates to reflect the terms established by the GAC.Application window clarification – One of the more important updates relates to clarification of the User Registration and Application Submission timeframes which were confirmed to be that:Users must register to apply within the following dates:Opens – 00:01 UTC 12 January 2012
Closes – 23:59 UTC 29 March 2012Once registered to apply, users must then submit their application to ICANN’s online system within the following dates:Opens – 00:01 UTC 12 January 2012
Closes – 23:59 UTC 12 April 2012The release of this updated version of the Applicant Guidebook is a huge step forward for ICANN and the program itself and relieves some of the scuttlebutt from within the industry that further delays may have been imminent.It’s certainly a welcome relief for industry participants such as our organisation and the many applicants across the globe who have been diligently preparing for this (in some cases for many years). These two announcements from ICANN provide more clarity for potential applicants and remind us all that new Top-Level Domains are coming and they are coming fast.Perhaps most importantly, at the bottom right-hand corner of the new microsite, ICANN provides the most important element of the program – something that all of us in the industry have been waiting for a very long time: “ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS IN 108 DAYS”Throughout this process, many within the industry have been keeping sane by constantly reminding ourselves that “it will happen, and it will be worth it”.Now it would appear that this time is only just around the corner.In reality the application window will really just be the start of it all, and in years to come, those who have fought this journey will reflect on this time with fond memories of a time that represented both challenges and tremendous achievement.This article by Tony Kirsch, Top-Level Domain name specialist with AusRegistry International, was sourced from www.ausregistry.com/blog/?p=848

Munich’s new domains conference reveals urgency to act now by Michael Twist, AusRegistry International

By Michael Twist, Top-Level Domain specialist with AusRegistry InternationalWhoever said there wasn’t enough room in Munich this time of year for anything but the mighty Oktoberfest clearly underestimated the draw of the new Top-Level Domain Program and the interest within Europe.The NewDomains.org conference held in Munich over the past two days confirmed three important insights for me; one: there is a large audience of brands and entrepreneurs who still have little awareness about the new Top-Level Domain program; two: those that are aware of the program and would like to participate are seriously behind schedule in preparing their application and strategy to submit to ICANN during the application window from 12 January to 12 April 2012.The third insight was the excitement generated from our announcement regarding AusRegistry International’s appointment to operate the registry for the .jewelers new Top-Level Domain. Having spent a great deal of time on this project, it was very rewarding to be able to share the news at the NewDomains.org conference and I was pleased with the positive feedback I received from many of the attendees.As with most conferences within the domain name industry, the usual suspects attended; the registries, the registrars, the ‘ICANN crew’ and the plethora of industry experts and consultants. However, I’m happy to report there is genuine interest from the European community about the upcoming Internet revolution and they came out with great interest for the first new Top-Level Domain conference in Europe.While the crowd was not made up of a lot of potential applicants (as a lot of the exhibitors would have liked), there was a very noticeable presence from the intellectual property and trademark community eager to find out about the program and its implications to their corporate clients.The two day agenda ran very smoothly and kudos should be given to United Domains who were in charge as it was truly run with German efficiency. There was also a good ICANN contingent with the presence of ICANN Chairman Dr Stephen Crocker, ICANN’s Senior VP of the new TLD program Kurt Pritz, as well as the very knowledgeable Olof Nordling, ICANN’s Director of Service Relations.Although there were few answers to the unresolved detail of the Applicant Guidebook, it was good to see the questions asked of ICANN and a necessary cohesion with the questions being asked.One important topic that was addressed came from Kurt Pritz’s presentation and side discussion about how ICANN intends to process the applications it receives during the application window. This is a critical issue for applicants because ICANN has previously said it may process the applications in batches, meaning that some applicants may have their applications sitting idle while others could be delegated are ready to go live.Although Mr Pritz confirmed that ICANN is yet to come to a firm conclusion on how it will process applications, he did say they may be batched in groups of around 500 and that these may be prioritised based on the objective of the application.I for one support this approach and believe priority and preferential treatment should be given to applicants who have business plans that demonstrate they will use their string immediately. Brands on the other hand that intend to purchase their own new Top-Level Domain to park it for defensive reasons should be penalised and have their application processed last.Other important topics discussed included:- Financial Letter of Credit – how much and when?
– How exactly will the initial evaluation tackle string similarity and other concerns?
– Community – how and who?
– The TAS – what does it look like and when will we see it?Although the ICANN community does not have any solid answers to these questions just yet, we hope to have these addressed soon as we edge closer to the opening of the application window in January.All in all it was great to see a good turnout and genuine interest. However, it is also fair to say that it is concerning how far behind the eight ball a lot of the attendees are and it begs the question: Will they make it in time?My advice to those sitting on the sidelines is: You must get moving now or miss the boat! There are only 105 days until the application window opens and you will need all that time to get your new Top-Level Domain application and strategy ready.This article was sourced from:
www.ausregistry.com/blog/?p=859