Written by Jamison Arterton
As promised, ICANN reopened the TLD Application System (“TAS”) on May 22, 2012. Registered users are now able to log in and complete their applications. ICANN has indicated that the system will remain open until 23:59 GMT/UTC on Wednesday, May 30, 2012.
Now that the system is back online, ICANN has encouraged applicants to review “Top Things Users Should Know When TAS Reopens,” which provides tips for logging in, completing the application process and submitting payment details. In response to customer feedback, ICANN has indicated that it has also improved the overall system's performance. ICANN has not yet confirmed how and whether the remainder of the rollout timeline will be impacted. The FAQ page at ICANN"s gTLD website still reflects that ICANN will post the public portions of all applications received, including applied-for strings, applicant names, application type, mission/purpose of proposed gTLD, and other public application data, "[a]pproximately 2 weeks after the application submission period closes." So, approximately on Wednesday, June 13th.
As the gTLD program gets back on track, ICANN also announced earlier this month that it has appointed Professor Alain Pellet to serve as Independent Objector for the gTLD program. Pellet is currently a professor at the University Paris Ouest, Nanterre/La Défense and is a former member and former Chairperson of the International Law Commission of the United Nations.
In his role as Independent Objector, Professor Pellet, may file a formal objection to any gTLD application on the grounds that it is either not in the public interest or where there is substantial objection to the application in the community. It is unclear precisely how Pellet will determine whether a particular applied-for gTLD is not in the public interest (presumably, of the global online community) or where there is "substantial objection" to a particular applied for gTLD from a particular community (for example, how many formal objections by members of a particular community are sufficient to be "substantial"?).
More details about ICANN's Independent Objector appointment are available here.