Letter to ICANN, gTLD timeline | DotgreenSteve Crocker, Chairman of The Board of Directors

The Honorable ICANN Board of Directors
Cc: Rod Beckstrom, President and CEO
Cc: Kurt Pritz, Senior Vice President, Stakeholder Relations and Director New gTLD Program
Cc: Diane Schroeder, Director of Board Support
RE:  Measureable harm to applicants should ICANN second guess its approved timeline.
The Internet Corporation of Assigned Names and Numbers, (ICANN) should be applauded for its excellent work in the process and success of the global multi-stakeholder model of governance with regard to the new gTLD program.   The execution of vetting a myriad of issues over many years was outstanding.  This in itself is phenomenal.  No other organization can boast this type of success on a global level, and it is fitting that the global Internet be operated this way by ICANN.
It is important to recognize that in every region of the world and in multiple languages, all governments, businesses, the domain industry, and individual Internet users wanting to be heard over the past four years worked together and had the opportunity for all issues and views to be discussed and addressed.  All have been able to step to the microphone in public forums.  Transcripts and documents have been translated into multiple languages, and global public comment has been invited on the ICANN.org website, all being heard and dealt with by ICANN. The new gTLD program process has been transparent and inclusive and appropriate actions have been taken. Seven versions of the applicant guidebook were drafted and also open to comment from all online.   It’s an impressive feat (albeit taking several years longer than expected) to reach consensus and Board approval in Singapore on June 20, 2011.  The bottom line: though years were extended, all interested parties provided input, all issues were heard, and all issues were addressed.
My concern today is that a ninety day application window starting January 12, 2012 was also approved – leading some applicants to make announcements regarding their initiatives.  This important milestone triggered implementation plans of many applicants around the world who trust ICANN and are relying on this timeline for business plans, financial forecasting, resource management, and viability.  A delay in the timeline now would pose real and significant harm to applicants, their communities, marketers, and investors and would seriously harm or prevent applicants’ creativity and innovation from contributing to the Internet.
I strongly urge the ICANN Board to stay the course by moving forward with the program in its scheduled timeline as originally approved by the multi-stakeholder process.  It is a process which must be protected for all, in order to afford the ability to maintain one Internet, for one world.