It's been eight months almost to the day since ICANN members voted to allow the freeing up of top level domains (gTLD), and it could be eight more months (or longer) before you can actually register one. Why the hold up, you ask?
ICANN's first-draft guidelines sparked a flurry of critical comments, including the exact opposite of a ringing endorsement from the U.S. government, and now a second draft has been released. Also accompanying the revised draft is a 154-page analysis of the comments already received, and ICANN expects to delay implementing the plan to at least September to give itself time to review all the feedback.
One of the primary concerns is that gTLDs could lead to confusion, and some companies fear they may be forced to invest in several new domain names. With an application fee of $180,000 and annual maintenance charges of $25,000 per gTLD (recently reduced for $75,000), that could turn into a costly affair. One solution is to place a hold on protected terms, but that raises the question of whether or not it would extend trademark holders' rights beyond what trademark law allows.
Comments on the revised proposal will be heard through April 13, 2009.
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