Establish a process and timeline sooner rather than later
ICANN's mandate is to open up the name space and to serve the interests of its constituencies. It needs to setup a process and time schedule for doing so in short order. It should take take months or years to do so. The market is changing rapidly and ICANN needs to be a gatekeeper, but not a stifle of innovation. As a backdrop for this objective, ICANN should be concerned about registry failure, but not consumed by it. Failure is inevitable and the market responds accordingly (it is no surprise that there was very little interest in the domain registry business in 2003 given how 5 out of the 7 new TLD's were financial failures). As in 2000, every application should be required to provide market research on need and acceptance for the proposed TLD. However, ICANN cannot be and shouldn't be the arbiter of what is likely to work in the marketplace. They have a hard enough time figuring out how to prevent registrars from circumventing the existing registration system. They are clearly ill prepared to know what the market needs or will accept. It should be made clear to the community that the market does indeed work. Indeed, ICANN, as the market regulator, should be clear in its objectives (obviously this has been hard to do over the years) and should have a clear and demonstrable threshold for new TLD participants. At the registry level, this should include baseline market research as well as a plan for financing which considers various market contingencies. Let's not wait another six months. The market needs new TLDs and the community needs a clear and definable process and time schedule.