Bundles and bubbles: a polemic bubble burst for the launch of the “batching system” for new gTLD’s

Arbitrary, flawed, unfair, are just some of the buzzwords that popped up during the launch of the batching system for new gTLD’s. The uncertainty as to the batch or bundle in which one candidate can finds himself is high and is causing deep concern. Last Friday, (ndlr: the 8th of June) and more amazingly before the reveal day, the ICANN decided to launch its batching system. As we already underlined in a recent article [1] this system was deemed to be fair and to represent geographical aspirations. A genuine bubble grew up within the juridical community which expressed strong grievances against this system. Some authors casted doubts on the efficiency and the relevance of such a system. Some people even pointed out that the system is technically flawed and would represent the second glitch of the ICANN after the so-called glitch of the TAS system.

  • Why is this system only a second best?

In fact, before engaging in a mouse-clicking frenzy, one has to bear in mind that queuing for such a system is like queuing for a lottery. This system is an oddity in the landscape of the new gTLD’s. As far as the geographical injection is concerned, it is deplorable, it is more or less like affirmative action: one can say that an affirmative action in favor of one individual is still a negative action taken at the expense of someone else. The scheme is simple, you must foresee a certain time and date in the future, then linger wherever you want and come back on the foreseen date and time, keeping your mouse ready to shoot at the target. The nearer you shoot, the closer the date of your assessment by the ICANN will be. Being in the first batch is of utmost importance as you will have a higher chance of boosting the launch of your gTLD’s and of being within the “happy few” candidates to run the gTLD’s at the beginning of 2013, if timescales remained unchanged. Companies like pool.com urge candidates to use their premium services. The latter proposed to help candidates to reach the target of being in the expected batch. Needless to say that such companies are not philanthropic by nature and are driven by economic ambitions. The emergence of such companies is highly regrettable for applicants. Finally, if several applications relate to the very same extension, they will be reallocated to the first batch in which the gTLD’s occurs. In this case, it is fate which leads the way!

  • Is there any plan B?

Before the batching system, dubbed the digital archery, was introduced, grievances reached the ICANN with alternative proposals which were not chosen by the Californian institution. The proposal to assess all the applications at the same time came under consideration. The reality is that the ICANN introduced the batching system in order to alleviate the problem of treatment of the number of applications. That can sound a little bit harsh, but no third way seems foreseeable today as the system is already up and running.

Gambling can become an addiction which is hard to overcome, but in the case of the batching system, the addiction seems easy to push away. As soon as the system comes to an end, the candidates will feel such a relief that the ICANN will be under to pressure to set up another mechanism for the next round of gTLD’s, if there is any!

[1] Dreyfus Blog : To batch or not to batch ?  Icann’s announcement to batch new gTLD’s applications : http://blog.dreyfus.fr/2012/04/to-batch-or-not-to-batch-icann%E2%80%99s-announcement-to-batch-new-gtld%E2%80%99s-applications-2/