Earlier today at the ICANN meeting in Cartagena, Colombia, the ICANN Board announced that it will not approve the new gTLD program today. Instead, the Board will wait until it meets with the Government Advisory Committee (GAC) in February, when the two groups will discuss remaining concerns and issues surrounding new gTLDs.
This is encouraging news, because it opens a window for improvement of the new gTLD program as a whole. The ICANN Board will have the chance to consult with the GAC and review public comments on the New Final Applicant Guidebook (which were due a scant three hours before the Board meeting began), and the Internet community will have more time to evaluate the new gTLD launch policy and demand that ICANN property establish a sound execution policy.
It’s good to see ICANN finally listening to those outside its own organization, but the Internet community should still be wary in the upcoming months. Now is the time for the entire Internet community to focus its efforts on pushing ICANN to take the necessary steps to ensure that the new gTLD program best serves the needs and wants of stakeholders and Internet users.