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Today, the list of proposed new gTLDs was officially released by ICANN, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, a nonprofit group that has managed the global Internet's system of unique identifiers since 1998. The much anticipated list includes gTDLs such as .ACTIVE, .DOG, .GAY, .GREEN, .LAMBORGHINI, .MEN, .NEWS, .PIZZA, .STREAM, .VIDEO, .YOU, and many, many more. See the full list of new gTLDs.
But don't get too excited yet, there is a slow, complicated process ahead before any gTLDs are released to be officially registered by the public. According to ICANN, the first new domains will go live in early 2013, but "early" is vague and it looks like April or May of 2013 might actually be the soonest we'll see any new domains.
Now that the list of gTLDs has been revealed anyone can submit comments to be considered by the evaluation panels. If you would like to do so, you can submit your comments on ICANN's comments forum during the next 60 days. You can also comment on the new gTLD program through ICANN's Program Feedback forum. This will be open until the end of the first round. Finally, you can also submit formal objections to any of the new gTLD applications. You have seven months to file a formal objection and you get more information about how to do so from ICANN's Objection and Dispute Resolution page on their website.
Starting in July, the evaluation panels will begin the initial evaluation. They will be looking at whether the TLD string is too similar to another TLD, whether it meets technical requirements, and whether it is a geographic name. The organizations behind the application of those TLDs will also be scrutinized to ensure they have the appropriate technical, operational, and financial capabilities to run a registry.
By December or January, the results of the initial evaluation will be posted to the Application Results page on ICANN's website. The list will show which applications passed and which applications failed. Applications that failed may still go on to an extended evaluation. Applications that passed the initial evaluation and face no objections will be eligible to proceed to pre-delegation, eventually becoming live and reachable on the Internet as a new gTLD. These gTLDs are likely to be the first released in "early" 2013. Some other applications that passed will be subject to special processes. An example ICANN gives on their website is if more than one application has been submitted for the same or similar TLD – apple and apples.
So far, the process has already run into delays – the original reveal date was planned for April 30. On April 12 ICANN took its application system offline due to a glitch that allowed some users to see other applicants data. This was meant to be the final day of submission, but since ICANN's system problems persisted for weeks, they reopened the application system on May 21 and extended the deadline to May 30. Now ICANN has 1900 new gTLD possibilities to sift through before any can be released to be registered.
Stuart Lawley, CEO of ICM Registry, knows this all too well. He spoke to ABC 7 News in an article from June 8 about his experience launching the adult themed .XXX domain saying, "I always tell people to take any timetable with a pinch of salt. We lived through huge delays with .XXX, so we expect to see the timeline slipping with this new process, too." For more information about ICANN's process, visit their page on what to expect next.
This post was written by Robyn Norgan, who is most excited about .NINJA and .LOL! Tell us what proposed gTLDs you'd most like to see pass the application process in the comments below.