Internet oversight body Icann has announced the proposed final version of the new generic Top Level Domain (gTLD) Applicant Guidebook - the document which will describe the process for applying for the new TLDs.
In a move which has slipped under the radar of most news outlets, Icann appears to be almost near completion of a project first approved over two years ago at the Paris meeting of its stakeholders and one which is set to shake up the entire domain name industry.
There have been four versions of the Applicant Guidebook so far, each of which has undergone a lengthy period of feedback and rewriting. The feedback from the final proposed version will be considered at the 10 December Icann board meeting in Cartagena and the timing of the launch date.
"Upon approval of the final version of the Guidebook, a four-month global communications campaign will be undertaken," noted a statement on the Icann site.
"The aim of this campaign is to ensure potential participants in all regions of the world are aware of program details and how to apply."
Major changes to the applications process are few in this particular revision, indicating that the end of the process is nigh.
On the whole they appear to be common sense additions, such as the screening of applicants and their businesses to ensure those with criminal histories or who have been involved in cybersquatting, for example, aren't given the green light.
Likewise, registrars will be given the ability to own their own TLDs, while a limit of 1000 new TLDs per year will be added to the root under the new proposals.
All we can do is wait now, but the signs are that new gTLDs will begin rolling out next year.
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