ICANN is now opening for public comments on the pre-application phase mentioned earlier on this blog. You can read more here.
Highlights of the draft EOI / pre-registration model:
* Participation in the EOI is mandatory for eligibility to submit a gTLD application in the first round. Subsequent application rounds will be open to any eligible applicants.
* A deposit of US$55,000 is required for the EOI, and will be used as a credit against the US$185,000 evaluation fee.
* The deposit is refundable if the New gTLD Program does not launch within a specific time period. Details will be outlined in the final EOI model.
* Participants are notified that there may be subsequent amendments to the Draft Applicant Guidebook. It is the intention to conclude many current open issues prior to initiation of the EOI process.
* A fully executed communications campaign, intended to ensure global awareness about the EOI, will precede the opening of the process.
* Participants will be required to provide specific information concerning the participating entity and the requested string.
* The participant and string information will be made public.
* The EOI launch is conditional on the conclusion of many of the outstanding issues, for example, issues concerning vertical separation and the IDN three-character string requirements. Solutions for these and other issues are expected to be included in the Draft Applicant Guidebook, version 4.
* The ICANN Board will be considering the draft EOI model and the community feedback during its meeting in February, 2010. If the Board decides that this is the path forward, staff will publish the final model along with instructions for a specific launch date.
Can an entity that does not participate in the EOI still be eligible to apply when the New gTLD Program officially launches?
* Yes, but not in the first round. According to the proposed draft model, participation in the EOI is mandatory for eligibility in the first new gTLD application round. There will be future opportunities to apply, however, the dates are not yet available.