By Trevor Little
June 24 2012
Even before most attendees arrived in Prague for this week’s ICANN meeting, the organisation was again grabbing headlines - with staff changes at the top and the suspension of the digital archery batching system due to “technical concerns”.
WTR previously reported on the scrutiny ICANN’s batching proposals had been placed under, with a rising number of calls to scrap the current digital archery system, which use a timestamp process, whereby applicants register a future time target and then log into the system as close to that time as possible (with the absolute difference between the target and recorded times becoming the applicant’s score in the secondary timestamp, which then determines placement in a batch).Last week research by ARI Registry Services found that geographical proximity to the ICANN Digital Archery server has an impact on likely success.
At the recent gTLD application reveal day, ICANN’s Cherine Chalaby explained that the organisation was willing to listen to alternative suggestions, providing these were fully developed and offered a level playing field for applicants. However, on Friday the organisation suddenly announced that operation of the digital archery portion of the new gTLD programme had been suspended, stating: “The primary reason is that applicants have reported that the timestamp system returns unexpected results depending on circumstances. Independent analysis also confirmed the variances, some as a result of network latency, others as a result of how the timestamp system responds under differing circumstances.”
The system was therefore taken offline to allow further analysis, with ICANN pledging to “continue to listen to community comment about digital archery and batching” and to minimise disruption to the evaluation schedule - speaking in Prague today, senior vice president Kurt Pritz stated that ICANN is still planning to commence evaluations on July 12 as per the previously announced schedule. Writing from Prague, Domain Incite’s Kevin Murphy reports that Pritz anticipates three batches, which will likely take 15 months to process through initial evaluation.
The digital archery suspension announcement, made as the ICANN community descended on Prague for this week’s meeting, capped an eventful 48 hours for the organisation. On Thursday it was announced that new gTLD program director Michael Salazar had resigned. The following day came the unveiling of ICANN’s next president and CEO.
Fadi Chehadé, assumes the top spot on October 1 2012 (chief operating officer Akram Atallah will be acting CEO in the interim).Fadi Chehadé most recently served as CEO of Vocado LLC, which provides cloud-based administrative software for educational institutions. Prior to Vocado, Chehadé served as the general manager of IBM’s Global Technology Services in the Middle East and North Africa.
ICANN may have hoped that the unveiling of a new CEO would grab media headlines, instead it is the latest technical concerns and suspension of digital archery that is proving the real focus.
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