As the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) prepares for its third and last meeting of the year (#ICANN48) in Buenos Aires, new gTLD registries have picked up the pace in pushing forward with their launch plans in a variety of ways.
Here’s a rundown of five facts that we know are true as of today:
- 58 new gTLDs have signed registry agreements with ICANN; more than half of these TLDs belong to the Donuts registry.
- The priority draw numbers for these TLDs range from 3 (.شبكة an internationalized domain name, or IDN, which is Arabic for “Internet” managed by the dot Shabaka registry) to 746 (.buzz). The priority draw number will most likely determine which TLDs are delegated by ICANN first.
- Some registries have passed technical milestones including pre-delegation testing (PDT) and integration with the trademark clearinghouse (TMCH); in its online blog diary, the registry for dot Shabaka announced that it passed testing with the TMCH as of Friday October 4.
- ICANN published the final rights protection mechanism requirements that all new gTLD registries must follow (read CSC’s summary of this document here) where registries now can choose to start accepting Sunrise registrations the day after they are delegated if they run a 60-day Sunrise registration period as opposed to providing 30-day advanced notice of Sunrise and then a 30-day Sunrise registration period
- ICANN and its technical counterpart known as IANA (Internet Assigned Numbers Authority) have yet to announce the delegation and go-live of a new gTLD.
The last of these is the significant milestone that all new gTLD registries are waiting for.
ICANN had originally expected to delegate the first new gTLD at the end of September, only to push the projected date back to an unannounced time. If history is an indicator, we can expect ICANN to delegate the first new gTLD before, during, or just following ICANN 48 in Buenos Aires to ensure maximum media exposure for the program..
Unsurprisingly, new gTLD registries appear to be impatient with the pace of developments coming out of ICANN and are beginning to share “projected launch dates” with registrars, like CSC, to see if they can generate enough momentum to break the dam.
Most believe that an IDN will be the first delegated and launched. Dot Shabaka appears to be in the lead having confirmed via blog posts from their online diary that they have passed most of the milestones on the path to delegation. When asked to comment, a representative of the registry confirmed that they expect delegation and Sunrise launch to commence in either October or November.
As for ASCII (latin character) gTLDS, Donuts, the largest portfolio applicant in the program, seems to be in the lead to be first. They recently published their anticipated launch dates to registrars for 11 of their “open,” uncontested new gTLDs. Donuts is planning a 60-day Sunrise registration period to begin on October 29 for the following TLDs:
ICANN has not confirmed that they received these launch dates from Donuts as part of their TLD Startup Information, as contained in the final RPM requirements, however, Donuts intends to do all they can to make this date a reality.
While the exact date of the first new gTLD launch remains elusive, it is clear that it is likely 15-30 days away and the time for action is now. CSC strongly recommends that trademark owners:
- file their TMCH registrations immediately (NOTE: it will take at least 21 days for the TMCH validation process to be completed);
- get up to speed on registry specific Rights Protection Mechanisms, such as the Donuts Domain Protected Marks List Program, to minimize defensive registrations;
- determine brand-specific and premium generic second-level domain names to register across relevant new gTLDs (NOTE: it is likely we will see 20-30 launches per month so one by one strategic evaluation of each gTLD as they come up for launch will not be possible); and
- identify monitoring solutions to police the rapidly evolving namespace for detrimental infringement to your brands and trademarks.
CSC will continue to monitor the new gTLD registries closely and make sure you get the facts on these launches (minus the hype and speculation) and will inform you once dates are firm via this blog and our soon-to-be-launched, client-only resource center, The Brand Circle.
In the meantime, CSC is ready and able to assist you with the above-listed important preparations. For immediate assistance contact your CSC Client Service Partner or Strategic Account Manager. If you are not a CSC client, please visit cscglobal.com for a free consultation.
Lastly, we invite all interested parties to join us for our upcoming web seminar on October 24, The Best Offense is a Good Defense, featuring CSC New gTLD Launch expert, Tommy Ho, and Matt Bamonte from Donuts, to learn more about the impending new gTLD launches and strategies to protect your brands during this rapid expansion of the namespace.