This morning, ICANN announced that, due to a number of technical problems with its TLD Application System (TAS), it will be shutting the system down temporarily.
The TAS will be shut down until Tuesday, April 17 at 23:59 UTC (7:59 PM EDT). At that time, the TAS will reopen and remain open until 23:59 UTC (7:59 PM EDT) on Friday, April 20, 2012.
ICANN posted this announcement shortly before 8:00 AM EDT this morning.
Throughout this application process, we have had our share of frustrations with the TAS, but we have been able to fully submit the applications for nearly every applicant that we’ve been working with, and were planning to use today to put the finishing touches on the others – meaning every application would easily have been completed today with plenty of time to spare. For our clients, this development merely represents a slight administrative delay, and ultimately is immaterial in their paths toward acquiring new gTLDs.
But in the broader scheme of things, this eleventh hour delay is truly troubling. For all its assurances that it had been preparing the New gTLD Program for years before the application period began, ICANN should have been prepared to efficiently process all of the applications it received, even in the event of a last-minute influx, which anyone could have predicted would happen. There is really no excuse for this failure of the TAS system and ICANN’s failure to meet its deadline, as thousands of applicants managed to pull out all the stops to do their part to meet the deadline. Our clients especially, who all come from large companies, went above and beyond to ensure that they were prepared to meet today’s deadline.
We will be posting more details as they become available, including whether or not this delay will also push back the date when ICANN will reveal all of the applied-for gTLDs, originally planned for April 30.