For those closely following the ICANN Meeting in Nairobi this week, the EOI (Expression of Interest) model seemed like a foregone conclusion. In fact, ICANN had scheduled a webinar on March 18th to explain the process despite the complaints of the community and large-scale disagreement amongst proponents of the EOI.
As proposed by ICANN staff, the EOI model would have required that all entities wishing to apply for a new gTLD during the first round to submit basic information including the requested string and a fee of $55,000.
However, much to the collective surprise of the ICANN community, the ICANN Board voted against the proposal, citing many of the reasons noted in the comments submitted by MarkMonitor.
Members of the ICANN Board stated that confusion regarding the purpose of the model existed, and that moving forward with such a model would have added another two to three months to the process. Furthermore, that resources were being taken away from solving the underlying problems was also cited as a reason to vote against the model.
While the EOI was expected to provide exact information about the number of applicants expected in the first round one of the Board Members stated that having this “extraordinary precision was not necessary due to the fact that the “Internet is a — as a system exhibits enormous dynamic ranges in load in every aspect.
Interestingly enough another Board Members stated that at the beginning of the week that he had planned to vote in favor of the EOI but by the end of the week it had become apparent that a mandatory EOI did not have the consensus of the community.
With this result brand rights owners and others will be able to keep their plans confidential until they are ready to apply and prepare for the application or objection process without additional worries or early investment in the gTLD process.
So it is without any sorrow or regret I say RIP EOI. “