ICANN to be told to stop pussyfooting on new gTLDs
The GNSO Council is expected to tell ICANN’s board of directors that it needs to stop lollygagging and set the wheels in motion for the next round of new gTLDs.
The Council plans to send a letter to the board ahead of its retreat this weekend, urging it to approve the GNSO’s new gTLD policy recommendations — the so-called SubPro Final Report — which turn two years old today.
There may also be some harsh critique of ICANN’s Operational Design Assessment for the program, which put an unexpectedly enormous price tag and years-long runway on the next round.
An early draft of the letter urges the board to approve the SubPro report “as soon as practicable” and “quickly” form an Implementation Review Team, which is the next stage of turning policy recommendations into systems and processes.
The ODA had provided two options for the next round. One would take five years and cost $125 million before a single application fee is collected. The second would cost about half as much and take 18 months.
The key differences were that Option 1 would see a lot of automation, with ICANN scratch-building systems for handling applications, objections, contention resolution and such, whereas Option 2 would cut some corners and rely more on manual processing.
But the GNSO, at least judging by the early draft of its letter, seems to regard this as a false dichotomy, instead proposing a third way, leaning on configurable third-party software and existing ICANN systems.
Option 1 is “overly aggressive… overly complex, time and resource intensive, and much more expensive than is necessary”, the draft letter says.
There wasn’t enough information in the ODA for the Council to figure out exactly how the two options differ, it says.
The letter is expected to tell the board that it doesn’t need to pick between the two options. Rather, it should just approve the SubPro’s recommendations and leave it to the ICANN staff and community members on the IRT to work out the details.
While the letter doesn’t come out and say it outright, the subtext I infer is that the ODA, which took a year and cost $9 million, was a waste of time and money. If the Council can’t figure out what it means, how is the board (its intended audience) supposed to?
The Council also expresses bafflement that the proposed Registry Services Providers Pre-Evaluation program, which was meant to streamline the program by accrediting RSPs in advance of the application window opening, is predicted by the ODA to be incredibly expensive and time-consuming, the exact opposite of its intended purpose.
The letter was composed by a “small team” subset of the Council and is likely to be edited over the next few days as other members weigh in. The Council is expected to discuss it at its monthly meeting tomorrow and send it to the board before it discusses the ODA on Sunday.
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