icann mexico logoThe 34th ICANN public meeting drew to a close the other day with a rather heated public forum.

The public forum is essentially a bit like “speakers’ corner”, where anyone who wants to address the ICANN board can do so.

One of the recurring themes throughout the ICANN meeting was the topic of the new gTLDs and more specifically the timeline for the launch.

When ICANN made the first official announcements about the new gTLDs last summer in Paris a lot of people were convinced that it would all happen very quickly. However the reality is very different.

For anyone who was naive enough to think that we’d see new TLDs in 2009, ICANN’s Paul Twomey made it clear last week that it is unlikely that anyone will be able to even apply for a new gTLD until December:

We suspect there’s going to have to be at least three, and I suspect four, rounds of the application guidebook before it’s ready for finalization.  And if you follow all the consultation steps that we need to do to follow those rounds and the meeting schedule, as I said in a release last week, the first step — we could not expect to have applications before December, and it may well be February (2010)

And that’s only the initial application.

How long from initial application to acceptance?
From acceptance to actual launch?
From launch to “go live”?

If previous TLDs are anything to go by it could easily add another 2 to 3 years (though maybe I’m being a bit pessimistic with those timelines?)

While it’s obviously in everybody’s interest that the introduction of new TLDs is done properly delays like this have a negative impact as well.

Don’t forget, some people have been campaigning for new TLDs for years, while others seem to have only shown an interest in recent months.

If you’re interested in how applicants view the delays Patrick’s post from last December is worth reading (and it was written before Twomey’s announcement last week).

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