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'Digital archery' to settle which domain submissions ICANN considers first

June 15, 2012|By Michelle Maltais
  • The process of putting submissions into batches for review will employ a kind of fastest-finger contest.
The process of putting submissions into batches for review will employ… (ICANN )

Some of the next steps as .com makes room for a flurry of new generic domains such as .baby, .Lexus, .AARP will make you scratch your head.

The question of how to pick which applications get first consideration will be settled by jumping through a set of hoops in an little bit of online Olympics.

The event to figure who gets first dibs: "digital archery."

It all actually sounds more like something out of a game show than a formal business application process. Ultimately, the fastest clickers will get placed in the first group to be officially reviewed.

As Bruce Tonkin, a Ph.D. and chief strategy officer at Melbourne IT, explained it to me, "It's very Internet. The Internet always tries to do something different."

If you think about it, you couldn't really just have everybody draw straws. If you have the applicants draw numbers, then technically that'd be a lottery. And you need a license -- in multiple countries and territories -- to run a lottery.

So they came up with this odd contortion after having considered and dismissed other options.

First, applicants will have to nominate a target time and date before June 28. At that precise time on that exact date, they will need to click "submit" on a website as accurately as they can. That will create a "time stamp" by which their application will be assigned a batch.

ICANN, the administrator of the domain names online running this process, has said it can consider the applications 500 at a time. So with 1,930 submissions, that's likely to create about 4 batches.

As you can imagine, there's a bit of a premium in being in the first batch, rather than the fourth.

To ensure "geographic diversity" in the batching process, applicants will be ranked within their region (Africa, Asia-Pacific, Europe, Latin America/Caribbean and North America) by their secondary time stamp score.

Then the best time stamp score from each region will be selected on a "round robin" basis until a batch is formed.

The exceptions to the process are names that are submitted by multiple applicants. Those automatically get tossed into the earliest batch possible, based on the fastest time stamp of all applicants for that name.

Also, applicants have the option to opt out of the whole fastest-finger part of the process. They will automatically get into the later batches.

Earlier this week, the details of the 1,930 submissions were revealed and the global public is now able to comment or contest the names. The formal evaluation period begins on July 12.

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