The Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC) has flexed its muscles, advising ICANN that it is still considering its options with regard to advice on contentious applications. By warning that it would not follow the expected timeframes for the early warning and objection periods, the GAC has thrown the spotlight on ICANN’s prediction that the first gTLDs could be live by early 2013.
The calls for changes to the batching process have continued apace following ICANN’s suggestion that it is willing to consider thought-out alternatives
. The ‘digital archery’ system was developed to require an element of skill on behalf of applicants, in a bid to avoid allegations that the system was essentially a lottery
. This week, ARI Registry Services announced the results
of its investigation into whether the described method did indeed offer “an equitable opportunity for all applicants”. It concluded: “The further distant an applicant is located from the ICANN Digital Archery server, the less chance that applicant has of posting a low, and therefore competitive, digital archery shot. The distance between the minimum and maximum values increases the further one is from the digital archery target. Even when one ignores the increase in average latency, variable network measurement values increase markedly when not in North America.”
The GAC has added its voice to calls for a rethink. In a letter to ICANN
, Heather Dryden, GAC’s chair, expressed concern over the batching process and urged for more community consultation on the issue. Perhaps more significantly, the letter also contained notification that the GAC would not follow the expected timeframes for the early warning and objection periods.
The former was intended to mirror the 60-day public comment period, which runs to mid-August. However, Dryden informed the ICANN board that “the GAC has identified several benefits from having a single early warning period in relation to all applications (these relate to efficiency, consistency and timeliness). On this basis, the GAC advises the board that it is planning to issue any early warnings shortly after the Toronto ICANN meeting, in October 2012”.
Turning to the issue of GAC advice on contentious applications, she added that the GAC is still “considering its options”, but stated: “Given the delays to the gTLD application process, the timing of upcoming ICANN meetings, and the amount of work involved, the GAC advises the board that it will not be in a position to offer any advice on new gTLD applications in 2012.” As a result, the GAC is considering the implications of providing advice and will not have a decision on this until next April’s Asia-Pacific meeting in April 2013 (potentially scuppering ICANN’s prediction that the first gTLDs would likely go live in the first quarter of next year).
With the community heading to Prague this weekend for the next ICANN meeting, it is shaping up to be a lively one. It came to light last night that the GAC has effectively cancelled its Sunday meeting
with the Generic Names Supporting Organisation (GNSO). The GNSO is attempting to reschedule the session but the GAC is clearly planning its next moves carefully.
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