“Pre-application” topic to be on agenda at December meeting.
The ICANN Board has instructed ICANN staff to prepare a report about accepting pre-applications or “expressions of interest” for new top level domain names. The board requested the staff to
…study the potential impact of a call for formal “expressions of interest,” and provide a plan for Board consideration at ICANN’s next Board meeting, in December 2009. The plan should include possible options and a risk analysis relating to the proposed action.
The idea was first publicly raised at the ICANN meeting in Seoul last month, and the board voted to approve a resolution for the staff to examine it.
The working group released some more information, and I like where this is headed:
1. Applicants will submit a fee with their “expression of interest”. Right now it’s penciled in at $100,000, but the idea is to make it enough that people won’t try to game the system.
2. Only people who make an expression of interest will be able to apply for a new TLD in the first round.
I think this is a good idea to get a handle on pontential applicant demand for new TLDs and to understand any unforseen issues that may come up regarding particular TLDs. But new TLD proponents are probably wary of the Board’s language, given the use of terms such as “study” and “risk analysis”. There will also be a 30 day comment period.