Many new TLD applicants will take a less-than-ideal contract if it means a faster time to market.
When it comes to the new top level domain registry agreement, what you have to gain or lose from new TLDs being introduced will greatly shape your opion.
Verisign has submitted two separate comments on the agreement, both of which blast ICANN for dumping the bottom up process and adding a unilateral right to amend the contract.
From Verisign’s perspective, a delay in new TLDs doesn’t hurt it. It might even help.
Donuts, the largest new TLD applicant, submitted comments that can be summarized like this: it was wrong of you to change the contract at this point in the game, and the process stunk, but let’s get the show on the road.
Donuts is willing to forgo a perfect contract to get its new TLDs to market.
New gTLDs were scheduled to be delegated at least four months ago, in January 2013. The program has been delayed for far too long, and at great harm to applicants and to the anticipated benefits the program will bring, as well as to the program itself. ICANN has permitted this delay to be caused, in part, by those who never supported the program in the first place and are using delay tactics as a strategy. As such, we support adoption of this new agreement and look forward to signing it forthwith.
The third sentence in the above paragraph could be read as a jab at Verisign.
New TLD applicants are certainly between a rock and a hard place. If ICANN is to follow its bottom up process, and it’s dedicated to a unilateral right to amend, it could be next year before the first new TLD is delegated.
But if you’re the typical new TLD company that has no revenue stream other than the future sale of new TLDs, and you’re not sitting on a pile of cash, you can’t afford to wait long to get it “just right”.
Interestingly, Verisign may be the reason that ICANN is insisting on rights to amend the registry contract. Site Finder is remembered all to well in the halls of ICANN.