Yesterday, the US Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation held hearings on ICANN’s expansion of top level domains. Next week the House Energy and Commerce committee will also conduct their hearings on this same topic.
While there were some harsh criticisms expressed, and interesting questions posed at the hearings, it became even more clear (if it hadn’t been already) that ICANN feels very confident that as a result of their approach that the new gTLD program has been designed with the guidance of the entire community.
At this late stage, a delay in the launch of new generic top level domains seems highly unlikely. However, that is not to say that we won’t still see some very important enhancements incorporated into the program. Some of these potential enhancements could include increasing the length of mandatory Sunrise Periods, removing the 60-day limit on Trademark Claims notifications, and establishing defined guidelines for the batching of applications for processing, just to name a few.
I do not expect a delay, but I do expect that we will continue to see some refinements incorporated into the gTLD program.