ICANN conducted its much anticipated priority draw for its New gTLD program yesterday. The draw was held in Los Angeles and of the approximately 1,930 applications for new gTLDs extensions, roughly 1,766 applicants bought tickets to attend the draw.
The purpose of the draw was to determine when the various applications for new gTLDs will be reviewed. The difference between an early draw and a late draw could be having a new gTLD launch in mid-2013 or sometime in 2015 or beyond. For applicants who are looking to obtain a return on their investment in a new gTLD timing is paramount, not just in terms of off-setting start-up costs, but also in terms of establishing an early foothold (and possible advantage) in what will be a crowded marketplace. Gaining momentum and capitalizing on what will be news in the market (the release of the first new gTLDs from the program) could mean the difference between a successful launch of a new gTLD and an unsuccessful one.
That said, for the 230 applicants who applied for new gTLD strings that are the subject of more than one application (.app, .home, .inc, .art, .blog, .book, …) the draw was not that significant because the Applicant Guidebook rules require that all of the applications for a contended string must be evaluated before moving on to the next phase of evaluation. See Module 188.8.131.52. Thus, these applicants are going to have to wait for everyone in their group to go through the process – a process that is certain to take some time.
Here is a full list of the ICANN draw results from yesterday.
If one were to try and pick a few Winners/Losers from the draw, at first glance a “Loser” would be Google, or its wholly owned sub “Charlestown Road Registry, Inc.” that had 5 of its applications picked (.corp, .music, .movie, .mba, .srl) in the last 12 drawn applications. A “Winner” would be Wal-Mart, McKinsey and Amazon that all drew applications in the top 125...