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Expressions of Interest Move Ahead: New TLDs Get Closer

It looks as if new top-level domains are getting ever closer to the opening bell.

Preliminary minutes from the December 9 2009 ICANN Board of Directors meeting suggest that the Board may authorize Expressions of Interest (EOI) at their February 10th meeting. The vote was unanimous. Even with a long (four-month) communications period, which ICANN would use to tell everyone in the world about EOIs and new gTLDs, that would mean submission of EOIs in June 2010.

Expressions of Interest are an idea that bubbled up during the October 2009 ICANN meeting in Seoul, where Minds + Machines helped form an Expressions of Interest Working Group was formed which maderecommendations to the staff, and many people added positive comments on the ICANN forum.

Basically, the idea is that everyone who wants to apply for a new TLD would have to file an EOI first, and put up some serious cash. That would tell ICANN how many applications they were going to get, and it would provide valuable information about the scale of the new gTLD application round. The devil’s in the details, naturally. I go through the full plan with Andrew Alleman in an interview on DomainNameWire. (Hint: listen to the interview, the transcript isn’t great.)

ICANN CEO Rod Beckstrom has made quite a few comments about ICANN’s commitment to getting new gTLDs to the starting gate since the Seoul meeting; I’m glad to see that the ICANN Board is following suit with some concrete action. This is very positive news.

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