An official update on the new gTLD program / Applicant Guidebook process has just been published. Most of you reading this will immediately know what that means but I’m going to use a third label which isn’t ICANN-world terminology to talk about it: Internet extensions.
ICANN has been working on a process for opening up the Internet space for a number of years. As that process has got closer to reality, people have started paying it more and more attention. The “new gTLD program” envisions a very significant increase in the number of “generic top-level domains” – or Internet extensions like dot-com, dot-net, dot-info etc. At the moment there are 21 of these extensions of three characters or more: the gTLD program is estimating a further 500 within the next two years. It’s a huge change in the Internet’s domain name system.
The “Applicant Guidebook” is what it says it is – a guidebook for those that plan to apply for a new Internet extension. In it, all the rules, procedures and processes are outlined in some depth. And currently ICANN is running an extensive and ongoing public comment and review process using that guidebook as the focus for discussion.
Which leads to the question of this blog post: so where are we up to with these new Internet extensions?