ICANN's generic top-level domain application evaluation process has been suspended again while the gTLD Program Committee seeks an alternative. The original selection method, known as Digital Archery, was a contest in which applicants chose an arbitrary time and had to submit their application as close to that time as possible. Based on the outcome of this contest, applicants were to be sorted into three groups to have their applications evaluated by ICANN, giving the companies in the first group a possible advantage in launching their domain. However, after applicants reported unexpected complications and latency issues the Digital Archery program was cancelled, and gTLD committee chair Cherine Chalaby announced that the applications would be evaluated in a single group.
This isn't the first problem the generic top-level domain program has run into — in April ICANN shut down the application process because of a security breach that exposed applicants' private data, and the application system remained offline until late May. Chalaby said that ICANN will give the applicants the opportunity to comment on the process, and will build a roadmap to detail what's next for the program. The committee is expected to report back to applicants with a timeline and risk assessment in approximately three weeks.