The next Applicant Guidebook
The applicant guidebook (also called the "AGB") is your next Bible and believe me, reading it is a total nightmare when you have no knowledge of the new gTLD application procedure: don't let this 338 pages PDF block you from submitting your application. By the way, the document I am referring to is dated 2012: it is the official documentation from the previous round of new gTLDs, the existing one is still being discussed and written.
I want to learn more
So you want to learn more? There is a way. Again, don't think that you will understand all of it but the positive thing about this is that there is documentation at the moment, a lot of it. The next official guidebook is being drafted and you can even contribute. Note that you will need to select the right group(s) to follow and learn to work in the distance doing meetings in the middle of the night and receive documentation that only the person who wrote it understands it. That is how it works but if you succeed in following the work group (which is a very big deal for me), you will start to understand what's coming upfront for the next round of new gTLDs. You will also understand how tortured are the participants ;-)
Where do I go?
I am only interested about "new gTLDs" so the path that I would suggest to follow is this one:
- Visit the "New gTLD Subsequent Procedures PDP Home" (see here);
- In the left column, there is blabla but point 2 tells you when the next meetings are (you will have to scroll down the list for the latest meetings). Note that these pages are then updated with the content of the meeting and an agenda is proposed prior to each meeting. It is this content you want to follow-up with to have an idea of what the actual discussions are for the next round of new gTLDs, and this is what you will probably read in the next Applicant Guidebook.
- To receive plenty of email with updates about ICANN new gTLDs, you can subscribe here: all reminders and publications related to active projects are emailed there (if you would like to join an active working group, you will need to email your request).
- Point 3 is king of disorganized and some subjects are outdated, I stick to point 2 personally.
My opinion on this process
I think it is a long one but I am the only one to think that, or am I? Also, you have to perfectly read English...but everyone speaks English right? I would love to be able to contribute more but the ICANN vocabulary is dictated by those exact same service providers you will have to talk to, to submit your new gTLD application so it is hardly understandable for new comers. For this exact same reason some will select the wrong service provider and pay an haw-full price for the submission of their application and its maintenance.
When it is time
At some point, the ICANN will give us a date. At that moment, you will have decided to apply because your project will also have been prepared upfront: this is important, don't get there with your first questions. A few things to consider:
- Talk to more than one service provider AND DON'T LISTEN TO THE ONE THAT TELLS YOU ABOUT HIS FANTASTIC EXPERIENCE BECAUSE EXISTING FIGURES CLEARLY SHOW THAT MANY PROJECTS HAVE FAILED ;-) Remember that there has been one ICANN new gTLD round only in the history of Internet.
- Don't tell about your string but at the last moment and be very careful about NDAs: meeting with more than one service provider in competition in the same room is the number one mistake.
- Don't sign a stupid contract with an exit fee or a minimum number of domains to create: try to get a price per domain created below the $1.
- Don't forget about the annual 10,000 ICANN tax: if your plan is to create a .BRAND new gTLD, it WILL cost you a lot to use you personalized domain names.
- Consider innovation and not just selling domain names.