Commercial Connect Passes Extended Evaluation
In 2012, ICANN, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and numbers, accepted applications to create new Top Level Domains (TLDs). A TLD is the text to the right of the final dot in a domain name. For example, .Com is the most popular TLD today. 1,930 applications for proposed new TLDs were filed. There were nine applicants for the .Shop TLD. The last applicant for the .Shop TLD has passed the Evaluation phase of the ICANN application process.
October 15, 2013 - On October 11, ICANN announced that Commercial Connect's application for the .Shop TLD had passed Extended Evaluation, which means that all nine applicants for the .Shop TLD have now passed the Evaluation phase of the application process. The next step for the .Shop applicants will be a Community-priority evaluation for Commercial Connect's .Shop application. According to Jeffrey Smith, founder of Commercial Connect LLC, "We are thrilled with passing Extended Evaluation and are now ready to go through the Community Priority Evaluation."
Commercial Connect LLC applied for .Shop as a community-based TLD. Community-based TLDs are given priority in the evaluation process which means that if Commercial Connect's application for .Shop is ruled a community-based TLD, then the .Shop TLD will be awarded to Commercial Connect automatically, without the need of an auction.
A Community TLD is defined in the Applicant Guidebook as "a gTLD that is operated for the benefit of a clearly delineated community". Any applicant may choose to designate its application as community-based; however, any applicant making this designation is asked to provide written endorsements in support of the application by established institutions representing the community.
Commercial Connect submitted its application for .Shop as a community-based TLD and submitted as proof of the .Shop TLD's community status letters of endorsement from the Governor of Kentucky, various Senators, and others who wished to show their support for Commercial Connect's .Shop application. These letters were dated from 2000 up to 2012.
About Commercial Connect LLC
Commercial Connect originally applied to create the .Shop TLD in the 2000 application round with ICANN. Although .Shop's application was approved, ICANN did not allow the .Shop TLD to be delegated into the root zone at that time. Applicants from the 2000 round were not given any priority in the 2012 round but were allowed to deduct the original 2000 plus some interest (approximately $86,000) from the new 2012 application fee of $185,000.
Since the 2000 application round, Commercial Connect has continued to raise awareness for and campaign for a .Shop TLD. Commercial Connect LLC was one of the nine applicants for the .Shop TLD in the 2012 application round.
Next Steps for .Shop
The next step for the .Shop applicants is to await the Community Priority Evaluation for Commercial Connect's .Shop application. If Commercial Connect's application for .Shop is ruled to be a community-based TLD with support from established institutions representing the community, then Commercial Connect will be allowed to proceed to the next phase of the evaluation process, which is pre-delegation testing and signing a contract with ICANN. If the Community Priority Evaluation finds that .Shop is not a community-based TLD and/or Commercial Connect did not show adequate support from the community, then the next step will likely be an auction. According to Jeffrey Smith, "We have always wanted a unified application with as much input from diverse groups as we could bring together. Some of the applicants are with us in supporting our goals and vision. There are others that simply are not. This seems to bring us to a stalemate on collaboration at this point."
It is likely to be late 2014 before domains in the .Shop TLD go on sale.
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