It’s no secret that ICANN can be a tricky organization to deal with. The technical terminology and acronyms alone are enough to trip anyone up. But what about the constantly changing list of dates and deadlines?
First, there was the hard cutoff for the new gTLD application period. Anyone who wishes to apply for a new gTLD must submit a complete application, along with the complete application fee, by 11:59 pm UTC on April 12, 2012. We have known about this deadline for quite some time now.
But then came the TAS requirements. ICANN set up the TLD Application System, a.k.a. the TAS, as “the official application submission and management system for the New gTLD Program.” The TAS opened the same day as the application period – January 12, 2012 at 12:00 am UTC. But unlike the application period, the TAS has a different deadline. In order to use the TAS (and by extension, submit an application) applicants must complete registration in the TAS by March 29, 2012. So that is another deadline to consider.
That is, until you read a bit further down the TAS page on the ICANN website. There, ICANN says that “EVERYONE is strongly encouraged to register earlier, within the first month of the application window.” Within the first month obviously means by February 12, 2012.
It is true that this February 12 date is not an absolute deadline to register in the TAS. And of course, ICANN has stated multiple times that applicants will not gain any advantage during the evaluation process by registering or submitting their applications earlier rather than later. But at the same time, ICANN has gone out of its way to express that TAS registration can take several days, and so its counsel that applicants should register by February 12, even if they are not specifically required to do so, should not be taken lightly.
It is also worth noting that registration in the TAS includes submitting the answers to Questions 1 through 11 of the application. These questions are fairly straightforward but for one thing: we have seen many companies take weeks deciding whether they want to apply for their gTLD as their existing corporate entity, or if they prefer to establish a new entity and apply under that new entity’s name. The reason this can be such an onerous decision is because it can impact the way the company completes the remainder of its application. As such, applicants need to take the time to decide which path is in the best interest of their company.
And the clock is ticking.
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