Written by Jamison Arterton
On March 29, 2012, the user registration window closed for anyone planning to apply for a new generic top level domain (gTLD). Applicants who registered prior to March 29, 2012, however, still have until April 12, 2012 to complete their application. As of March 25th, ICANN had 839 registered users in the system. Given the number of registered users, ICANN has announced that if it receives significantly more than 500 applications, it will begin processing those applications in batches. Under this "batching process," applications will be divided into groups of 500 applications to be evaluated at a time.
If batching is required, applicants will need to obtain a time-stamp through the designation process that will begin after the April 12th close of the application submission period. Applications will be batched and reviewed according to this time-stamp and not based on when the application was actually received.
Now for the fun part. If the batching process is activated, applicants will be notified that they are required to select a future time target for the processing of their application. On the date and time selected, the applicant must return to the online system and click "submit" as close as possible to the selected time as possible. How close the applicant comes to the their target time will determine the applicant's batch placement. ICANN refers to this as "a game of digital archery." What fun! All this for $185,000 filing fee. Applicants who do not have a preference for when their application is processed can affirmatively opt-out of the process.
In the event that more than one applicant applies for a similar top-level domain, all applications for the contending strings will be placed into the earliest batch designated. If batching is necessary, ICANN has indicated that it will post a video demonstration of the batching process after the close of the application process. For now, additional information about the batching process can be found at ICANN's website under "Batching Basics" (click here).