The plan is that applicants show up (in California?) or send a rep - pay 100 USD and get a number in the lottery.
ICANN will then process the application in that order (IDNs do go first, though) with a pace of 20 new gTLDs per week - beginning right after the ICANN meeting in Beijing in April 2013.
It may sound a little crazy, but I actually support the idea...as it would have been impossible to reach a consensus amongst applicants on which type of applications should be granted priority.
Some have argued that community based and geo-TLDs should be prioritized over standard applications. The problem is that each application is unique in its purpose and business plan. So whereas some brands have applied as a community based TLD, others have applied as a standard application and so on.
Basically, any prioritization in my view should have been made public prior to the opening of the application window last January.
So when can applicants get a contract with ICANN ?
As I read it, “lucky” (and skillful – you still have to pass the evaluation and not be hit by an objection – btw – you can now file objections until March 13) applicants may get a contract in May/June, 2013, whereas unfortunate applicants may have to wait until May/June 2014 or even longer.
ICANN is planning on delegating 20 new TLDs per week – or about 80 new gTLDs per Month – so we can expect new gTLDs at the end of Q2, 2014 – to begin with the first two months we will only see IDNS.
X-mas in California?
Applicants have to be physically (and mentally) present (or send a rep) at the lottery in December (provided ICANN gets the authority to carry out the lottery) and pay 100 USD per application – so who is volunteering to go to California in December?
BTW: I cannot see described what happens, if you do not pay your lottery ticket - what if none of the applicants want to pay? Anyways just a thought.
I am sure this will create an interesting debate at the ICANN meeting in Toronto next week. If you cannot make to Toronto, now you have to plan for a lottery tour (why not toVegas?) in December, you can comment on the drawing proposal here