On Monday, ICANN opened the TLD Application System (TAS) Demo, an interactive mock up of a real gTLD application that lets you navigate through the steps of registering, creating a profile, completing and submitting a new gTLD application. Readers will remember from our earlier post, “New gTLD Applicant Guidebook Changes Summarized” that gTLD applicants have to register in the TAS by March 29, 2012 in order to submit an application.
The Demo release comes about two and a half months before the application period officially opens on January 12, 2012. One of the questions we have been hearing from brand owners and potential applicants is what the best time to actually submit the applications will be. Will submitting the application early land their gTLD in a more favorable evaluation batch? Will submitting it at the last minute help them retain some sort of competitive edge over rival companies?
During its meeting in Dakar, Senegal, this week, ICANN attempted to answer those questions and settle the debate over when the “best” time to apply is. At a GNSO working session Kurt Pritz, ICANN’s Senior Vice President of Stakeholder Relations, told attendees, “There’s no advantage to applying early or later in the process. As long as your application is in by the due date, it has the same chance of being in any batch.” In other words, there’s no indication that applications filed earlier in the window from January 12, 2012 to April 12, 2012 will be evaluated with greater priority. And, of course, since ICANN will not publish the list of gTLDs that have been applied for until after the application period closes, there is no competitive edge to be gained from waiting until the last minute to file.
This clarification may come as a relief to companies that want to put a little more time into preparing their applications. However, because ICANN has set a firm deadline for registering in the TAS, applicants still need to have made a decision to apply by March 29, 2012.
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