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Friday, October 12, 2012
ICANN To Use A Lottery System For Prioritizing New gTLD Applications


After analysis of public comment and possible solutions for processing new gTLD applications, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is proposing a new plan for prioritizing applications through the steps leading up to launch. And much to everyone?s surprise, it involves a lottery.

The plan describes assignment of priorities through the use of a Draw or Drawing ? the priority assigned to each application will be used to schedule the release of initial evaluation results, pre-delegation testing, and contract execution.

ICANN was planning to use a "Digital Archery" contest to determine which applications for a new Generic Top Level Domain (gTLD) such as ".security", should be evaluated first. A system like this is needed because not all the 1,923 gTLD applications can be handled at once, and ICANN has said that it can only handle around 1,000 applications a year.

Using Digital Archery, applicants would have to shoot their digital arrow as close as they could to the bulls eye of a time stamp. This method was cancelled in June after applicants complained about unexpected results and network latency issues.

One of the obvious alternatives is holding a lottery.

According to the proposed plan, each application will receive a Draw Number, which will be used to schedule the release of Initial Evaluation results, pre-delegation testing, and signing the contract with ICANN. Draw Numbers will be assigned in the style of a raffle ? applicants must purchase paper tickets and ICANN will draw these tickets to assign each Draw Number.

In order to comply with the California law, applicants are required to purchase their tickets, which cost $100 apiece, in person.

ICANN has stated that the Draw will occur between December 4 and 15 of this year, but has not yet confirmed an exact date. The Draw Numbers will be used to schedule the release of Initial Evaluation results, which, under this proposal, will occur at a rate of 100 applications per week between March and June 2013.

Later in the year, the Draw Numbers will also be used to order pre-delegation testing and signing of the Registry Agreement. Both pre-delegation testing and Registry Agreement signing will take place at a rate of 20 applications per week, which will allow ICANN to stay within the delegation limit of 1,000 gTLDs per year.

ICANN has opened up a Public Comment Forum for this proposal.


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