An Update on New TLDs

new top-level domainsEarlier this year, we set up an informational page detailing our position and outlook on the topic of new TLDs. Since then, and particularly since the conclusion of ICANN’s 46th international meeting last month in Beijing, we have received many inquiries from resellers about our plans for this exciting development. As a result, I thought it would be a good time to address some of the frequently asked questions we are receiving.

What do the current launch timelines look like for new TLDs?

We believe the most optimistic view currently puts the first TLDs live and launching their sunrise phases in the third quarter of 2013.

Most applicants are currently being evaluated by ICANN. Exactly when a specific extension will become available depends on several factors:

  1. Draw number: in December 2012, ICANN conducted a lottery draw to determine the priority by which each application would be evaluated. Lower numbers were to be evaluated first, and that process is now underway.
  2. Objections and contentions: extensions with multiple applicants, third party objections or intervention from ICANN’s Governmental Advisory Committee can expect to take longer to work through the evaluation process.
  3. Desired launch date: Once a new TLD has been approved by ICANN, it does not necessarily have to launch immediately. An approved applicant may elect to launch their extension at a later date once approved.

The net result of this is we expect extensions with no objections and only one application to launch first; many of these are Internationalized Domain Names and geographic/regional domain names.

What extensions are you planning to carry, anyway?

Unfortunately, it’s still a little bit too early to tell. That said, there are some high-level things we can say at this point:

  • We are actively evaluating each extension to determine which would offer the greatest business potential for our reseller network.
  • We will engineer to every requirement and protocol so that you can manage them all exactly the same way whenever possible using our API and control panel.
  • We will give you as much notice as possible regarding the launch of the TMCH, the extensions we plan to launch, and what kind of launch support to expect.

We will relay more details about what extensions will be going live when as we get them.

What about the Trademark Clearinghouse (TMCH)?

The TMCH will be an important part of the launch process. Every extension will be required to offer a sunrise period; if you are thinking of securing any names during this phase, want to protect any trademarks your company may have, or want to do the same for your customers, you’ll want to start thinking about the TMCH.

The purpose of the TMCH is to accept and validate records of registered trademarks, to add them to a central trademark database, and to subsequently a) allow them to be registered during the sunrise phase, and b) notify potential registrants during the general availability phase that the name is a registered trademark (and inform the trademark holder).

All trademark holders will be able to provide their trademark details to the TMCH via OpenSRS and its resellers. As a result, we expect to support the sunrise and landrush phases for many extensions.

While we’re not quite at the starting line for launching new TLDs yet, we’re getting close. Expect many updates in the coming months about the launch of new gTLDs. Stay tuned.

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