Is the new top-level domains “technical issue” a harbinger of future gTLD issues?

Does the “technical issue” announced today in ICANN’s TLD Application System (TAS) and the subsequent extension of the submission deadline call into question the stability and integrity of the new gTLD program?

This development underscores the notion that ICANN could consider a more metered and staged approach to the introduction of gTLDs in order to guarantee the security and availability of the Internet.

As stated in our comments on May 10, 2011, and echoed in the comments of many others, “A more limited and staged rollout will allow ICANN to assess, and, more importantly, mitigate negative impact of new gTLDs on the security and stability of the Internet, consumers, stakeholders, brand holders, and, for that matter, the Internet as an institution and a critical part of global infrastructure.”

Still, there are many details of the new gTLD system to be worked out. In fact, the community has yet to see important details of the program like:

– a provider for the Trademark Clearing House

– a provider and cost structure for Uniform Rapid Suspension System URS

The good news is that there’s still an opportunity to re-examine the batching system so as to introduce lower-risk and higher-value new gTLDs and use them as a way to test the waters of these critical systems and programs. This is especially true in the face of criticism of ICANN as in institution.