Today ICANN published a draft model for soliciting Expressions of Interest for new generic top-level domains. According to the model, parties interested in submitting applications to acquire new gTLDs will be required to provide basic information about the application and a deposit of $55,000 which can be used as a credit against the full application fee of $185,000.
The model is a direct result of community recommendations and is available for public comments until January 27th, 2010. Public comments can be submitted at http://www.icann.org/en/public-comment/public-comment-201001.htm#draft-eoi.
Based on public comments, the ICANN Board will convene to review feedback and determine possible next steps in the first quarter of 2010.
Highlights of the proposed plan include:
- 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 plan as outlined by ICANN raises a number of concerns. MarkMonitor intends to submit its own comments and encourages its clients to do the same.