Thursday, 27 October 2011

Evaluation Panelist Elected - Who Will Decide If Your Application is Qualified?

Yesterday ICANN released (page 19) the list of their elected Evaluation Panelists:

The "awards" go to:

String Similarity: InterConnect Communications (UK)
Seem to be experts in IT regulations, numbering and broadband technology, I hope they also have some cross-cultural and linguistic expertise, as they are to judge some of "our" German gTLD strings...the problem is, there is NO procedure or possibility to complain against their decisions. So if they think that - as an example - .BAYER (Pharma company)is (very probably)visually confusingly similar to .BAYERN (Region) there is no way you can complain against that (other than public comments, which evaluators are to look at but not bound to take into account) ...prepare for auction! Btw, most Germans would easily be able to differ between the two strings, they do so today (I.e. the Stadium of the Football Club in Leverkusen is called BAYER Arena, and mind you has very little wish to be associated with BAYERN Munich)
Anyways, it would be really nice, if Interconnect Comm and/or ICANN would give a few concrete examples (preferably in multiple scripts) on what is "visually" similar (i.e. singular vs. plural IDN (Ü) vs Latin (UE) and what is not...applicants for multiple TLDs risk ending in contention sets against themselves...!

DNS Stability: Interisle Communications

Who are they? Have tried to "google them" without any look, and have not found them on the list of respondents. Can anyone enlighten me?
Ah, maybe they are called: Interisle Consulting Group? ;-)
Chapin and Avri Doria are competent and trustworthy competences. I can tell from the WHOIS record of (Registrant:Charles Wade4 Tiffany TrailHopkinton, MA 01748US) that they are based in the US (Their website does not seem to show that ;-) I hope they have the bandwidth to evaluate the registry services thoroughly.

Registry Services: Interisle Communications (US

Geographic Names: Economist Intelligence Unit and InterConnect Communications (UK and UK again)

Financial / Tech / Ops

Ernst & Young (UK)
JAS Advisors (US)KPMG (CH)

Community Priority:
Economist Intelligence Unit
InterConnect Communications

These guys will be very busy, I can imagine a whole bundle of CPEs, it will be interesting to see how they will interprete the various community priority criteria.

Quality Control: JAS Advisors 

So it appears that the panelists are very anglo-saxon....too bad, especially in the string similarity review panel and in the geo name panel, it would have made sense with a bit more diversity...
We were told that the panelist would be handed out manuals on how to evaluate the applications. Sadly, these manuals are not likely to be published..

More Providers To Be Chosen
ICANN is still in the process of electing providers for the EBERO (Emergency Backen End Operator), The Trademark Clearing House (which has the potential to become a mean money machine), The Independent (who is?) Objector, and the URS. I miss an RFP or RFI for the Auction Provider...

New Important Dates and Timeline for New gTLD Program Released

Yesterday at the New gTLD Program Session at the current ICANN Meeting in Dakar, Senegal, ICANN released an updated timeline for the new gTLD Program (SEE page 15 and 16 here).

Important news are: The order of Application Evaluation will NOT be based on FCFS!

IF ICANN receives more than 500 applications the batching of applications into groups of 500 (or more) applications, which will be evaluated first, will NOT be based on a "first-come-first-served" basis. ICANN will define (not done yet) other metrics for the batching of applications.

In other words: You don't have to submit the entire application as soon as you have the chance upon the opening of the application window (January 12th). On the other hand, I donøt see how it could hurt to deliver as soon as possible...

Another news to me was the statement that you are entitled to edit your application right until April 12th, even after you have paid the application fee and submitted the application, should you decided to do that very early.

So what counts is: Get your access to the application system as soon as possible (wire 5,000 USD), no reason to risk anything there, and don't rush your application.

However, as an application is not simply answering 50 Questions, but actually describing and documenting your business model and policies for the lifetime of your TLD, applicants should already now begin the process of creating policies, budgets, as well as gathering and producing documents and preparing funds for their new gTLDs.

More important dates in 2012:

1 May Strings Posted Opens:

Application Comment Process
GAC Early Warning
GAC Advice Period
Objection Period

12 June
Initial Evaluation Begins

30 June
Application Comment Process Closes
GAC Early Warning Closes

12 November
Initial Evaluation Closes all Results are Posted

29 November
Last day to elect Extended Evaluation

1 December
Extended Evaluation

Transition to Delegation (for Clean Applications)
String Contention (for Applications not in Dispute Resolution or Extended Evaluation)

GAC Advice Period Closes

Last Day to file an Objection

Notably, one can actually wait complaining against another application, until the particular application has passed the ("initial") evaluation. This may save money for objectors, who will not have to object against applications, who are not deemed qualified, and to defending applicants this means that they can now expect to risk a smaller refund, in case someone else successfully objects against their application, as these objections are now expected to be filed after and not during the initial evaluation...

It is comforting to know when the deadline for a GAC Advice is (Dec 1st, 2012)

Dates in 2013:

30 April
Extended Evaluation Closes
Dispute Resolution Closes
(Nice to have a deadline here as well, let us see if this is realistic...)
Results & Summaries Posted

15 May
String Contention Opens (for Applications with Variables)

30 May
String Contention Closes (for Clean Applications)
Results Posted

I did not quite catch, if String Contention Opens means this is the time frame for Auctions, and did not get either, what was referred to by "Clean Applications," maybe?

Can anyone answer that? I will try to ask during the Application Session later today.