It has been a busy week in ICANN towers as a number of major new gTLD decisions have been ticked off their long ‘to do’ list.
The major step forward was the announcement that the Registrar Accreditation Agreement has been approved. After more than two years of negotiations, the agreement is finally ready to be launched. Every new registrar who wants to sell new gTLDs will have to sign up to the agreement before they can start registering new gTLD domain names. Whilst there have been compromise both from ICANN and registrar stakeholders, the agreement is here to stay. The underlying objectives of protection for registrars have been included in the agreement with beefed up requirements for capturing verified WHOIS information and proxy services.
A number of gTLD applicants will also be breathing a huge sigh of relief as ICANN announced there is no issue with applications that use plurals. The presence of singular and plural applications was raised by the Government Advisory Committee as a major concern but ICANN have stated that they do not feel they need to make any changes to its application guidebook. So we will soon be seeing .web and .webs, .hotel or .hotels and .auto and .autos.
Yesterday another bone of contention was addressed that saw ICANN finally agree to closely investigate the GAC advice on "closed Generic" applications. Many major brand owners have been up in arms since seeing some of their competitors make successful applications for new generic term gTLDs which they had set as closed. The likes of .makeup, .hair and .cloud are now being held in abeyance as ICANN investigates whether they should be allowed to stay as closed.
Written by Stuart Fuller, Director of Commercial Operations and Communications, NetNames