This will be the last new gTLD Weekly Update for 2012, so it seems appropriate to pause and take a look back at all we've accomplished this year. We've been incredibly busy, and with your help, we've accomplished a great deal and made significant progress moving the New gTLD Program forward.
Let's reflect on what this year has seen…
- APPLICATION WINDOW: The successful opening and closing of the new gTLD application period. Though the TAS issue caused some delay, we used the opportunity to learn and improve the process. The culmination of the application round was an exciting Reveal Day on 13 June in London where we revealed to the world the 1930 applied-for new gTLD strings.
- APPLICANT SUPPORT PROGRAM: Though we only received three applications for this program, the Applicant Support Program still is a significant part of the New gTLD program and will continue to be. A special Thank You goes out to all of the volunteer Support Applicant Review Panelists for their hard work and dedication.
- APPLICATION COMMENTS: We launched the Application Comment period on 13 June and scheduled it to run for 60 days. However, we were urged by many of you to extend the comment period and so we did – an additional 45 days for an eventual 105-day comment period. A total of 11,682 comments were received during this 105-day period.
- PROGRAM FEEDBACK: The Program Feedback forum launched on 13 June. This forum remains open for the duration of the application round. Comments will be used to make improvements to the program.
- OBJECTION PERIOD & INDEPENDENT OBJECTOR: The Objection period started on 13 June. Originally scheduled to end seven months from Reveal Day, we listened to the community and extended it to 13 March 2013. Also, as announced in May, Professor Alain Pellet was appointed as the Independent Objector for the New gTLD Program.
- TRADEMARK CLEARINGHOUSE: We have seen two important developments relating to the Trademark Clearinghouse. In June, we announced Deloitte and IBM as providers to work with us on implementation of the Clearinghouse. In November, we posted a "Strawman Solution" for public comment.
- INITIAL EVALUATION & CLARIFYING QUESTIONS: Initial Evaluation of all new gTLD applications began in July. We launched a Clarifying Questions (CQ) pilot in August/September to ensure clarifying questions are clear and that applicants can understand precisely what additional information they must provide to evaluators in order to get a passing score. CQs for Geographic Names applications were sent out in November and the first two Applicant Advisories have been posted to help applicants prepare for the remaining CQs scheduled to go out in January 2013.
- UNIFORM RAPID SUSPENSION: We gathered and reviewed several proposals from potential Uniform Rapid Suspension (URS) providers in response to our Request for Information (RFI). A decision regarding URS provider selection and the path forward can be expected very soon.
- GAC ADVICE & EARLY WARNINGS: The GAC Advice Registry launched in July and GAC Early Warnings on new gTLD applications were delivered in November.
- APPLICANT COMMUNICATIONS: In August, we began our monthly Applicant Update Webinar Series to keep you informed and provide a way for you to ask questions between major ICANN meetings. We began Weekly Updates, like this one, introduced brief Video Updates on relevant trending topics, and added an Applicants' Corner page to the Microsite to help you find resources more easily.
- BATCHING/METERING OF APPLICATIONS: And finally, with your help, we successfully executed the Prioritization Draw. 100% of the proceeds collected will be donated to the following three charities: Kiva Microfunds, Invenio, and Wikimedia Foundation. You can find final results of the Draw on the Current Application Status page. Thanks to all of you who attended and participated in the Draw in Los Angeles. It was yet another milestone achieved in a year filled with them.
In addition to the above major developments, the new gTLD Customer Service Center has been working hard throughout the year to answer your questions, process change requests and provide continual support to all applicants.
As we look towards 2013 we see more milestones ready to achieve. New gTLD applications will begin to make their way through Initial Evaluation and on to contracting, pre-delegation and delegation.
Thank you for your patience, hard work, and input. This program would not be possible without you.
Wishing everyone a very happy and prosperous New Year!
~ Michele Jourdan, Manager new gTLD Communications