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TLDH: Digital archery may have technical bugs

June 11, 2012antony van couvering, digital archery, Domaining, Domainnamewire, tldh, top level domains, UncategorizedComments Off on TLDH: Digital archery may have technical bugs

Big new top level domain applicant finds odd results with digital archery system.

Digital archery, which creates a secondary timestamp for new TLD applications that will determine how they are batched, is run through ICANN’s TLD Application System (TAS).

This is the same system that was taken offline for over a month due to a security glitch that allowed some competing applicants to see limited data from other applicants.

So you don’t suppose there could be problems with digital archery, too?

One of the larger top level domain applicants, Top Level Domain Holdings, Inc., says it has discovered some odd results in the digital archery test system that may point to technical problems.

[Update: ICANN confirmed there was a problem. It wasn't with the recorded data, but only displayed data. Still, this doesn't instill confidence.]

TLDH has built a system designed to get good results in digital archery. But its tests have shown strange outliers when it clicks 1 to 5 milliseconds earlier than the target time in digital archery.

Of course, it’s entirely possible this is something on TLDH’s side. But ICANN doesn’t deserve the benefit of the doubt anymore.

ICANN has responded to TLDH’s blog past on Twitter, saying “we’re aware of the issue you raised & are looking into it…” and asking others with similar issues to notify it.

I still stand by my claim that digital archery is a very dumb idea. I think Antony Van Couvering does a good job of explaining why in his post.


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Related posts:

  1. TAS glitch will call in to question digital archery for new TLDs
  2. Like I said, TAS problems doom Digital Archery
  3. Should ICANN can digital archery?

Economist on Digital Archery: “Frankly, anything is better than this”

June 8, 2012digital archery, Domaining, Domainnamewire, thies lindenthal, UncategorizedComments Off on Economist on Digital Archery: “Frankly, anything is better than this”

Thies Lindenthal finds fault with ICANN’s digital archery.

Plenty of people have come out against ICANN’s digital archery plan for new top level domains. Digital archery will determine the batch in which a new TLD application is reviewed and ultimately will have correlation to when they come online.

See: Fate of new TLD order determined by click of a button and location

Some of those opposed want a different method for picking the order while others want to scrap batching all together.

Today economist Thies Lindenthal (the guy behind the Internet Domain Name Index) published a guest post on Financial Times about digital archery. His conclusion? “Frankly, anything is better than this”.

For domain extensions, the timing of market entry relative to one’s competitors is vitally important. The first batch of domains will receive a head start of up to a year which will be difficult for latecomers to overcome. Think of the acceptance of each new gTLDs as a self enforcing process — every new digital dweller makes the extension more renown and popular, increasing the benefits of earlier settlers who find it easier to promote their location. Their ‘locations’ gain in value. For example, if more and more lawyers used LAW for their websites, their peers will consider moving into this ‘network’ as well. In economic terms, each new member increases the utility incumbents derive from being in the network. Virtuous circles evolve.

Indeed, getting into the first batch is critical for everything but .brands. (And .brands may tell you it’s critical for them, too.). Lindenthal gives a perfect example with .eco and .green. If one comes out a couple years before the other, the latecomer is doomed.

I tend to agree with Lindenthal, although his suggested alternative may be just as troublesome. Instead of batching based on the click of a mouse, Lindenthal suggests giving top level domains first to those that have the power to start breaking down the .com mindset, which is to remember a second level domain and then just type .com after it.

I bet just about every applicant thinks they’re the one that can chip away at .com. Of course, a batching auction might resolve this…


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Fate of new TLD order determined by click of a button and location

June 7, 2012digital archery, Domaining, Domainnamewire, icann, new tlds, Policy & LawComments Off on Fate of new TLD order determined by click of a button and location

ICANN reveals more details about its digital archery game.

The smart money would have set up their registry in Africa…

ICANN has provided more details about its so-called digital archery solution that will determine in which batch a new TLD application will be evaluated.

Digital archery involves setting a target time and then clicking a button as close to the target time as possible.

With close to 2,000 applications, but many of them duplicates, we’re probably looking at 2-3 total batches.

The good news for people applying for hotly contested domains is that they’ll be grouped in with the applicant for the same string that does best in digital archery. So if one applicant for .app gets into the first batch, all other .app applicants will be moved up to the first batch.

This disturbed some .brand applicants who thought this would push them into later batches. But ICANN said this is not the case; no one will be pushed to a later round because of contention move-ups. That means the first batch will have more than 500 strings.

But the catch is that batches will also take into consideration which region the applicant calls home: Africa, Asia-Pacific, Europe, Latin America/Caribbean and North America. There will be a round robin approach.

Although I don’t know the exact break down, I’m guessing being in the U.S. or Europe will put you at a disadvantage. I believe Donuts, which is applying for 307, is based in the U.S. TLDH, applying for 68 on its own, is in Europe. Most .brand applicants likely also come from these regions. (By the way, good luck finding a list of countries in each region on ICANN’s web site.)

Oh, and the digital archery process will be run through the trusty TAS system.

Given the high stakes and perceived advantage of getting in to the first batch, don’t be shocked if a lawsuit is filed after the results come in.


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ICANN announces new TLD reveal date, digital archery schedule, 500 unfinished applications

May 29, 2012digital archery, Domaining, Domainnamewire, icann, new tlds, Policy & Law, reveal dateComments Off on ICANN announces new TLD reveal date, digital archery schedule, 500 unfinished applications

Dates are finalized and a lot of applicants have work to do before tomorrow.

ICANN just provided a timeline for the new top level domain application process going forward.

The “big reveal” date, when ICANN releases the full list of applicants and the strings they applied for, will be June 13.

Digital Archery, which will be used for slotting which batch an application falls into, will run June 8 to June 28.

Additionally, ICANN says there are over 500 incomplete applications currently in its system. This means the applicants haven’t yet completed the applications or haven’t paid for them yet. The application system is scheduled to close tomorrow, so it will be interesting to see how many applications are abandoned.

A full schedule is here.


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Related posts:

  1. Should ICANN can digital archery?
  2. Like I said, TAS problems doom Digital Archery
  3. How ICANN should do its big “reveal”

Should ICANN can digital archery?

May 3, 2012digital archery, Domaining, Domainnamewire, icann, new tlds, Policy & LawComments Off on Should ICANN can digital archery?

Given the latest data, ICANN should consider changing how it batches new TLDs.

With 1,268 registered users for ICANN’s new top level domain application system, it’s clear there will be over 1,000 unique top level domains going through the new TLD process. That means we’ll have “batching“, where approximately 500 domains at a time go through the full evaluation and addition to the root.

The current plan for determining which 500 applications go into each batch is called digital archery. Applicants will pick a target time and then try to click a button as close to that target time as possible.

Given ICANN’s failure to run the new TLD application system effectively and securely, a lot of doubt will be cast on the accuracy of a digital archery system.

This, in combination with the expectation that ICANN is going to make a lot more money off of applications than originally forecast, is renewing calls for coming up with a different solution. Here’s what Jeff Neuman, Vice President, Business Affairs at Neustar, Inc. tweeted yesterday:

I wouldn’t be surprised to have an applicant who misses the first batch sue ICANN over its digital archery system. That could delay the entire process.

The problem with putting all domains into one batch isn’t necessarily the evaluation process. The problem is adding more than 500 domains to the root at a time. ICANN has said it wants to limit batch sizes to monitor new TLD effects on the root.

If I were ICANN, here’s how I’d look at it. The non-profit is looking at a windfall of $30 million if it gets 2,000 applications. And that assumes a whopping $120 million is spent on “risk” costs such as lawsuits. Why not use some of this money to “buy off” applicants? Offer a substantial refund to applicants who agree to be slotted in later batches. I suspect that at least half of new TLD applications are for .brand domains. Many of the applicants have no idea what they’ll do with their .brand or when they’ll do it. Offer them a nice refund and many will opt for later batches.

ICANN could even hold a “reverse refund auction” to figure out the market cost of being in a later batch.

This volunteer program would save ICANN from more legal risks. It would also prevent the likely scenario of a bunch of the new TLDs being “dead” when they are added to the root. (Basically, .brands added to the root that aren’t actively used yet.) This would kill two birds with one stone.


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Related posts:

  1. TAS glitch will call in to question digital archery for new TLDs
  2. ICANN New TLD application deadline extended to April 20
  3. ICANN: 105 new TLD applicants may have had data exposed