Businesses and organizations have been given another week to apply for generic top level domain names (gTLD).

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) was scheduled to close its 90-day gTLD application window on April 12th 2012.

However, the watchdog has pushed back its deadline by another week following a technical issue, meaning interested parties now have until April 20th to lodge their applications.

The gTLD application window will reopen on Tuesday April 17th for three days, giving companies more time to stake a claim for a personalized domain name suffix.

Akram Atallah, chief operating officer at ICANN, said the regulator had “learned of a possible glitch in the TLD application system software that has allowed a limited number of users to view some other users’ file names and user names in certain scenarios”.

“Out of an abundance of caution, we took the system offline to protect applicant data. We are examining how this issue occurred and considering appropriate steps forward,” he stated.

“We apologize for any concern this may have caused and will communicate on a regular basis on our website.”

ICANN is set to publish a list of gTLD applicants at the end of the month, revealing which parties have paid the required $185,000 application fee.  However, according to Ken Schmid, New gTLD Project Manager at CSC, “reveal day” will likely slide into May.  “Consistently, ICANN has stated that the list of applicants would be published two weeks after the close of the application window.  So if this timing holds true it is likely “reveal day” will be moved to on or about May 4th .”

Schmid also points out, that while over the last few months there has been a lot of emphasis on the learning “who” has applied, the bigger concern for all brand owners needs to be on the strings that have been applied for and for what purpose they will be used.   “Once ICANN releases the list, brand owners need to quickly identify potentially infringing strings, as well as competitive threats.  With likely over 3000+ applications submitted to ICANN, it will be no small task to comb through the list to identify applications that concern so a strategy can be developed for each.   CSC’s New gTLD Application Monitoring service can help companies quickly cut through the noise and get to the applications that may impact their business and brands.”

The first gTLDs are expected to become operational later in 2012, subject to ICANN approval.

At present, domain name applicants have just 22 generic domain names to choose from when registering a new website address.

However, under the new gTLD regime, they should be able to select from hundreds of new domain name suffixes.

ICANN extends gTLD application window by one week
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