ICANN Webinar receives complaints amid a delayed schedule over new gTLD’s

The latest ICANN webinar held on 11 January 2013 at 20:00 – 21:30 UTC went as normally as it could until the convener of the webinar finished her explanations. ICANN holds webinars regularly as a form of update concerning latest developments or processes especially those that affect the new gTLD’s which comes as one of the most talked about issues since the approval to allow for new gTLD applications in Mid 2011.
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The update among other topics reported statistics that affect the new gTLDs especially the 13 withdrawals that have so far been successfully completed. This brings to total current new gTLD applications to 1917 from an initial 1930.
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The changes that were submitted are 424 with those that have been approved and posted totaling to 54. Several changes have been submitted some that included spelling changes in the strings.
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On the initial evaluation results, ICANN has promised to release them in priority order beginning 23rd March 2013.The initial evaluation results will ramp up to at least 100 results per week by June 2013. The timeline for the final and conclusive publishing of all initial evaluation results are scheduled for end of August 2013.
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Another issue that really affects the applications especially during evaluations are the Clarifying Questions or (CQs). ICANN began issuing geographic names CQs on 26 November 2012.There were 49 geographic applications in total.
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Other clarifying questions that will follow suit include the Registry, Financial, Technical and Operational CQs which were scheduled for the beginning 15 January 2013. ICANN anticipates that over 80% of all applications are likely to receive the clarifying questions. The CQs for 100 applications will be scheduled for release each week based on Priority number. Applicants had attended the Prioritization Draw at Hilton Los Angeles Airport late December last year. All applicants will have four weeks to respond to clarifying questions, where a two week period has been increased from the initial fortnight period of two weeks, making it a month.
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However will all these updates, program manager Christine Willett had a hard time explaining to applicants that the string similarity analysis that will be done using the proposed String Similarity Assessment Tool called SWORD due on all 1,917 remaining bids is not expected to be ready until March 1. With ICANN having concerns about the “clarity and consistency of the process” being used by the evaluation panel saying “I don’t want to publish contention sets and string similarity results that I can’t stand behind, that ICANN cannot explain, and that only frustrate and potentially affect the forward progress of the program.
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There Applicants were a worried lot since the delay may subsequently delay other schedules of the gTLD program. ICANN has had memorable problems with the new gTLD tools starting with the digital archery that was rejected as a form of determining batching.

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