ICANN says it’s done three pilot rounds of top level domain expansion.
A frequent complaint about ICANN’s new top level domain plans in recent months is the scale, with numerous groups asking ICANN to run a pilot program.
But in response to an FTC query, ICANN has faced this issue head on by pointing out something obvious: it has already run “pilot” rounds.
1. 2000 proof of concept round which approved seven new TLDs
2. 2004 sponsored top level domain program
3. 2009 IDN fast track that has already generated 30 IDN ccTLDs
ICANN says it learned important lessons in these rounds of TLD expansion. First, TLDs can safely be added to the internet. Second, placing limits on the number of TLDs approved or the type (sponsored) puts ICANN in a position of picking winners and losers. It also leads to gaming by people that try to fit into the mold required to be approved.
The letter to the FTC also subtly reminds the commission that there are already 300 top level domain names on the web — many more than the 22 often cited by critics.