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TAS Outage Shows Tech Errors Can Happen in Any Organization

Last week, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) was forced to extend the deadline for the new gTLD application to April 20th, after the application system crashed and the technical issue which enabled some applicants to see file names and user names that belonged to other applicants.

The failure of the TLD Application System (TAS) proved that technical challenges affect even the best. Being a technical organization, ICANN is expected to provide a robust system, bearing in mind the high demand of the new gTLDs. ICANN has received over 500 registrations, and the last minute rush must have tested the system to its limits.

The technical community was outraged by the system failure but ICANN took the best option in extending the deadline by a week to April 20th, giving applicants a chance to finalize their application.

The deadline extension due to the TAS crash unfortunately paints the TAS in a negative light. It’s fair for the world to expect ICANN systems to be near 100 percent perfect considering that ICANN is the organization that effectively controls the Internet. It’s also fair to expect ICANN to ensure the TAS is robust enough to be able to deal with the deadline day pressure. The crash therefore gives an impression that the TAS may not have been robust enough.

ICANN’s decision to extend the deadline is reasonable in the circumstances. It would have been very bad for some applicants to miss the deadline simply because the TAS couldn’t allow them to do complete the applications on the last day. Our dotAfrica application was finalized before TAS crash but I’m convinced the extension has won ICANN many friends amongst some applicants, albeit they may not openly admit it.

Here is ICANN’s last statement on TAS interruption.

By Mohamed EL Bashir, Public Policy & Internet Governance Strategist

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