Idea to get data on new TLDs will probably take longer than expected.
If the current draft plan (pdf) for accepting “Expressions of Interest” for new top level domain names is adopted in similar form, ICANN won’t start accepting applications until June 2010 at the earliest.
The delay is because ICANN will shift its planned communications efforts for new TLD applications to promote Expressions of Interest instead. The current proposal for Expressions of Interest would not allow EOIs to be submitted until the communication period ends, which will be at least four months.
But June 2010 might be optimistic. The draft plan also calls for
the some of major overarching issues — such as registrar/registry separation and rights protection — to be decided prior to accepting Expressions of Interest. This may mean the 4th draft of the applicant guidebook will be released prior to accepting EOIs. If the communication period doesn’t run concurrently to resolving these outstanding issues, it would push the dates further back. Because the communications would require a “due date” for submitting EOIs, running them concurrently might not be feasible.
Although open for comment, the draft plan suggests a price tag of $55,000 to submit an Expression of Interest. This is an upfront payment for the actual application, although refunds will only be given if the actual launch date of reviewing applications is delayed beyond a certain point.