The first new generic top-level domains (gTLDs) will be launched on April 23 by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).
ICANN said the first new gTLD will be the Chinese-language version of .catholic. This means the launch of .africa gTLD is imminent even though ICANN has not disclosed any details regarding its launch.
Egyptian Fadi Chehadé, ICANN Chief Executive, said although they were on track to recommend the date for processing more than 1,900 gTLDs, there were some things that were out of their control that could “cause the date to slip”.
One issue which can cause delays to the launch date is the fact registries “still don’t have any guidance” on how to connect to the Trademark Clearinghouse which is a central database of trademarks that can send warnings to alleged cybersquatters.
ICANN has also announced plans to launch 20 new gTLDs per week as part of their rollout.
Another possible problem that can cause delay is there is still uncertainty about the scope of the Clearinghouse. ICANN has stated it is analysing the public comments on the suggestions before it decides whether to implement them as updated or new policy.
Furthermore, more delays can be expected as some applications are still contested by multiple applicants with auctions possibly being necessary to separate the so-called contention sets.