ICANN’s board of directors is sending mixed signals about the new gTLD program, but it seems it is ready to start approving the next round when the community meets for its 76th public meeting in Mexico next month.
It seems the board will approve the GNSO’s policy recommendations in a piecemeal fashion. There are some undisclosed sticking points that will have to be approved at a later date.
Chair Tripti Sinha wrote this week that the board “anticipates making incremental decisions leading up to the final decision on opening a new application window for new gTLDs”.
While “many” recommendations will be approved at ICANN 76, the board “will defer a small, but important, subset of the recommendations for future consideration”.
The good news is that the board is erring towards the so-called “Option 2” sketched out in Org’s Operational Design Assessment, which would be much quicker and cheaper than the five-year slog the ODA primarily envisaged.
the Board has asked ICANN Org to provide more detail on the financing of the steps envisioned in the ODA, and to develop a variation of the proposed Option 2 that ensures adequate time and resources to reduce the need for manual processing and takes into account the need to resolve critical policy issues, such as closed generics.
The closed generics issue — where companies can keep all the domains in a generic-term gTLD all to themselves — did not have a community consensus recommendation, and the GNSO Council and Governmental Advisory Committee have been holding bilateral talks to resolve the impasse.
There’s been an informal agreement that some closed generics should be allowed, but only if they serve the global public interest.
A recent two-day GAC-GNSO discussion failed to find agreement on what “generic” and “global public interest” actually mean, so the talks could be slow going. The group intends to file an update before ICANN 76.
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