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NTAG Chair Blog: The Road Ahead

The next six months will be a pivotal period in ICANN & New gTLD applicant relations. April 2014 will mark one year since the Governmental Advisory Committee—better known as the GAC—issued advice that put nearly 400 applications on hold.

The Name Collision issue, while no longer a gate for many applicants, currently puts thousands of second level domain names on hold. March will be a key inflection point for this issue as well. ICANN Auction procedures are also being finalized. A raft of documents released at the end of 2013 continues to generate debate amongst applicants as to the best way forward.

Looking past March, June will mark two years since ICANN revealed the list of applicants for New gTLDs at a celebratory event in London. Fitting then that we should return to that great city to take stock of the progress of this application round. London will also be ICANN’s 50th meeting—a historic event - made more compelling by the over-arching debate on Internet governance.

As NTAG Chair during this period, I am delighted to be leading the search for common goals amongst an impressive group of big and small companies, entrepreneurs, not-for-profit organizations, communities and government-backed applicants. It is worth noting that nearly 90% of the respondents to this month’s member survey indicated they think NTAG is a valuable forum. (The NTAG Member survey ran from January 2-10, 2014 and had a 24.5% response rate, or 20 responses out of 102 total members.)

As these members indicated via this survey and through telephone interviews I conducted throughout December, maintaining this impressive reputation will depend on reducing delays, ensuring strong ICANN performance, and keeping accountability at the forefront of NTAG’s mission.

It is why as Chair I intend to focus on this key metric: As of last month 42% of applications continue to await eligibility for resolution.

In light of this challenge, I am especially thankful for how quickly the new Executive Committee, with Rubens Kuhl as Vice-Chair, Andrew Merriam as Secretary and Reg Levy as Treasurer, has taken up the task. This ExCom is already truly a team effort.

As we work toward these and other goals, I will be using this blog series to share intermittent thoughts, issues, etc. from the perspective of Chair. Of course, these thoughts are solely my own and don’t necessarily reflect the NTAG, its Executive Committee, or my own Company. I hope you will find it of value no matter where you sit within the ICANN community.

By Jacob Malthouse, Fmr UNEP Staffer, Ex ICANN VP, Co-founder dot-eco domain registry.

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Addendum Jacob Malthouse  –  Jan 14, 2014 7:42 PM

The NTAG currently represents 102 new TLD applicants, with 994 total applications for new TLDs, which account for US$ 184M in application fees.

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