Today is Wednesday, January 4, 2012: T-minus 8 days until the new gTLD application period opens next Thursday. While applicants will have a full three months to submit their applications, some are working diligently this week to ensure that their applications are fully prepared to submit on January 12.

So you can understand our surprise when we found out yesterday that ICANN plans to release a new version of the New gTLD Applicant Guidebook.

Now, we’ve known for a while now that ICANN has the ability to change parts of the Guidebook at any time. The version released in May 2011 added a provision to Module 6, the Terms and Conditions section, that stated that “ICANN reserves the right to make reasonable updates and changes to this applicant guidebook and to the application process at any time by posting notice of such updates and changes to the ICANN website.” But this morning, in a response to a question that one of our Associates submitted about an unrelated matter (background screening requirements), a representative from ICANN’s New gTLD Customer Service Center ( wrote the following:

Email from ICANN

We checked ICANN’s website, and couldn’t find any announcement that a new Applicant Guidebook is in the works. And yet, this email unequivocally states that there will in fact be a new version, and that it will include new requirements for background screenings.

Whenever the new version of the Guidebook is published, you can be sure we will post a rundown of all the changes here on gTLD Strategy, so be sure to check back.

Josh Bourne
Late Hit