The top-level domain process is going forward but will likely be delayed. Original estimates were that the application process would begin this spring. However, in an advertisement in the current issue of the Economist magazine, ICANN stated that the new top-level domain process will commence in the second half of 2009.
The advertisement appears to promote new top-level domains and solicit public comment. ICANN indicated that there will be a second comment period early in 2009 but has not yet published responses to the previous comment period which were promised by year-end 2008. Furthermore, the Economist advertisement states the primary benefit of new top-level domains is to open innovation for business and billions of non-English speakers.
Lastly and perhaps most importantly ICANN states in the placement that they will be “holding brand conferences early in 2009 to discuss the issues. We encourage our customers to join these events and participate.