New gTLD Applicant Group (NTAG) blasted ICANN on meeting its deadlines and time frames on various on the new gTLD program.

The letter cites 6 major issues involving the new gTLD program and ICANN for extending previously announced deadlines:

Release of Contention Sets

Release of Background Screening Results

Extension of Rights Protection Comment Window

Extension of Objection Deadline

Extension of Completion of Initial Evaluation Results

Clarifying Questions

and the number of TLD that ICANN will delegate to the root each week.

The letter sent to ICANN was directed to Christine Willett, General Manager New gTLD Program

Here are the highlights of the letter.

Dear Christine Willett:

“The New gTLD Applicant Group (NTAG) writes to compliment ICANN on the successful Draw process, but also to highlight a growing concern for our group – the continued slippage of clearly defined dates and timelines within the new gTLD program.

“We have stated before on numerous occasions that predictability in the evaluation and delegation process is of paramount concern for us.

“It is critical for both applicants and non-applicants alike to have some amount of certainty around the new gTLD process as well as for ICANN to show accountability and transparency to its stakeholders by hitting community agreed upon and announced deadlines.”

“Despite repeated calls for the need for ICANN to do its utmost to publish and adhere to clear timelines and milestones, ICANN has pushed back or missed a number of key milestones in recent months.


Release of Contention Sets:

ICANN initially indicated to applicants that string similarity results/contention sets would be released prior to July 11, as that was the initial batching date and contention sets had to be set prior to the start of batching. When digital archery was abandoned, the date for the release of contention sets also moved. The new timeline was given as “four-and-a-half months” after the panel received the strings, leading the new date to be the end of October 2012. At the Toronto meeting, ICANN staff also indicated that results would be published in October 2012. During the Applicant Update Webinar in November, applicants were told that contention sets would be released at the end of December 2012. Then, in the most recent webinar, ICANN informed applicants that contention sets would not be released until January 2013. This is a critical issue for applicants because if we do not know who is in contention with whom, we cannot begin to negotiate with fellow applicants to try and actually resolve areas of contention, which will ultimately lead to a further delay in the process.