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New gTLDs: What Is Really Happening at the Moment?

Many of us have noticed there will soon be a new CEO at ICANN. Actual CEO Rod Beckstrom will be thanked and everyone will congratulate each other…(in English :-).

OK, done… But what is really going to happen in Prague?

N-E-G-O-T-I-A-T-I-O-N

Now strings have been published and everyone knows who is who, time has come for negotiations. You may have noticed many strings are in competition. Isn’t it surprising by the way?

Who is going to be able to afford one of these highly desired Top-Level Domain: those who have been developing a good project for years or ... those who have the deepest pockets? This is for sure going to be discussed in Prague and I am afraid some applicants are going to realize they are very far from having enough money to compete in an auction or face objections.

Was the good strategy to apply for a niche TLD and be alone to apply? Maybe.

With such an impressive list of attendees, I do notice many major applicants will be in Prague. Some of them are “certainly” going to meet and discuss strategies, budgets, organization, contracts, objections, and probably…how much they agree to pay a competitor to drop the string he’s applied for. Applying for a new gTLD is not only a matter of paying ICANN fees and service providers to prepare your project and enter in the validation process. No, no.

Let’s take an example: what would you do if you suddenly noticed your budget is very small compared to your competitor(s):

  • You’d keep thinking ICANN’s new gTLD program was developed for the best project to be validated and keep faith yours will easily go through the validation process?
  • Write a public comment against your competitor and hope panelists will consider it?
  • Have someone to write bad comments against your competitor and think it is a way to protect your application?
  • Raise (finance) an objection against your competitor because you don’t really have the choice?
  • Write to the ICANN Ombudsmann?
  • Wite to the Independant Objector?
  • Write to the GAC?
  • Take the risk to go to an auction?
  • Keep it to your “No compromise” strategy and see what happens?
  • or…drop it?

Strange feeling isn’t it?

The public forum is the Community’s opportunity to make comments and ask questions on the main topics at each meeting directly to the Board and in front of the rest of the community: it is on Thursday, 28 June 2012 from 14:00 to 18:30 in Prague.

By Jean Guillon, New gTLDs "only".

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