Indom comment: ICANN must commit to a 2010 launch date.
Although the opportunity to comment official documents is a crucial and valuable part of ICANN's new program development process, INDOM would rather not be commenting this 3rd version of the DAG as it is now being presented. Before Seoul, ICANN staff clearly stated that DAGv3 would be the last draft before a final version was published in December 2009. In Seoul, ICANN staff announced that there would now be a DAGv4 and that from now on, no more tentative dates would be given until a final timeline could be announced.
We urge ICANN to determine that timeline as quickly as possible. In our view, timeline slippage has now become such a serious issue that it is putting the whole new gTLD program at risk while playing havoc with prospective applicants' efforts to build their TLD and getting finance and backing for it. In fact, the loss of credibility to ICANN and its processes which this slippage is generating may have serious consequences for future programs, with potential participants not willing to invest their time and money after such a precedent has been set.
While the comment periods opened after each version of the DAG have all provided extremely valuable input, there is now clearly a need to move forward with a final version of the applicant guidebook and to commit to launching the first round of applications in 2010. Without such a clear commitment from ICANN, we believe that prospective applicants will no longer be able to stay with the new gTLD program and may simply turn away, thus depriving Internet users of a spate of actors capable of bringing valuable innovation.
As far as specific comments to the DAGv3, they should undoubtedly include: - Praise of the High Security Zone concept introduced in this version of the DAG, giving prospective registry operators an optional opportunity to highlight their commitment to running a secure and technically state-of-the-art TLD. - Requests for the applicant guidebook to take better account of the specifics of single-owner TLDs. While it may be difficult at this stage to see past existing TLD applications, single-owner TLD applications have strong potential for new and innovative uses of the Internet namespace and the new gTLD program should better integrate this type of TLD.
There are also many detail comments to be made on the DAGv3. However, INDOM believes the timeline slippage issue to be so overarching as to eclipse any other consideration at this stage.
Stéphane Van Gelder