ICANN Reassures Over Dot-Anything Delay


New domains on hold while ICANN sorts out the registration system

ICANN has moved to reassure customers over the delay to applications for top-level domains, saying it is not the result of an attack, and will not affect data already registered.

The new generic top level domains (gTLDs) would allow brands to own suffixes, so .google might be bought by Google, for instance. Today was to have been the  last day for registration, but ICANN (the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) has extended this until 20 April, because of a technical problem with the registration system.

“Unusual behaviour”

ICANN’s technical staff have been working on a fix to a problem with the TLD Application System (TAS) but it was now working again, an ICANN spokesman in Europe told TechWeekEurope.

“I don’t yet have  all the details, but here is what I do know,” Brad White, ICANN’s director of media affairs told TechWeekEurope. “There was not a cyber-attack of any type.”

White went on to say that “no application data has been lost from those who have already submitted application, so it should not pose problems for existing applicants.”

ICANN is extending the deadline to give applicants the time they would have had if the system had not been shut down for diagnosis, repair and testing. An annnouncement on ICANN’s site puts it down to “unusual behavior”, and promises gTLD application will remain open till 20 April to make sure no-one misses out.

“ICANN constantly monitors the performance of the TLD Application System (TAS),” said the statement. “Recently, we received a report of unusual behavior with the operation of the TAS system. We then identified a technical issue with the TAS system software.”

The system is being kept offline for thorough diagnosis, repair and testing and current plans are to make it live again after Tuesday at 23:59 UTC (Greenwich Time). After that, ICANN is giving everyone till midnight on Friday 20 April to finish their applications.

ICANN expects to publish the results on 30 April, and anyone who misses out could have ten years to wait before another batch of gTLDs are opened up.

“It will be very interesting to learn which companies had the vision to act on this opportunity and who will be reaping the potential benefits of their own dot Brand,” said Roland LaPlante, chief marketing officer for infrastructure provider Afilias, adding that a gTLD would help potential customers to distinguish real companies from online phonies.

gTLDs will cost $185,000 (£116k) each, and companies including Google are known to have put their names down for one, while others like .disney are likely to happen.

The local governments of Scotland and London are understood to have applied for domains.  The UK’s registrar, Nominet, has also taken the opportunity to apply for new national domains including .wales and .cymru.

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