The ICANN Board, in a move which reverses Stuart Lynn's proposal for at least 3 more sponsored TLDs, announced its view that any further TLDs should be postponed indefinitely, on the grounds that they should focus on Evaluation, and on the grounds that they were understaffed.
This is astonishing. Read their Oct 20 comments here:
http://www.icann.org/minutes/prelim-report-13oct03 .htm [icann.org]
"Mr. Twomey reviewed for the Board... considerations raised by the community and Board members on the creation of new sTLDs and new TLDs generally. ...and what timeline for the consideration of new sTLDs, and eventually new generic TLDs was feasible and responsible in light of work to be done."
"A suggestion was that gTLD specific issues be set aside until these issues could be reviewed and examined in detail, expert analysis could be undertaken and community input received. Further, it was noted that the nature of TLD relationships with ICANN was a structure under much debate at present, and deserved a better understanding of the goals of the parties prior to expanding the number of these relationships."
"Board members remarked on the significant staffing constraints for ICANN at present, and the foreseen lack of an ability for ICANN to both oversee a round of new sTLD applications, and also invest significant resources and time in gathering and analyzing data on gTLD issues."
"The board debated the wisdom in moving ahead with the creation of new TLDs at this time, in light of the need to shortly commence a full scale review of policy in this area. A brief debate ensued among Board members as to the appropriate set of issues that should be included in a review and development of policy relating to the creation of new TLDs."
"Board members voiced concerns that many of the TLDs created during the 2000 round were still struggling with myriad acceptance and distribution issues, and that these issues should be carefully examined and addressed to the extent possible prior to considering the creation of new TLDs on a large-scale basis."
"Discussion ensued among the Board members; in particular, board members focused on the short time frame set forth in the new MoU for the development of strategy and policy in this area, and concerns that any action on sTLDs at present would detract from that effort"
"In summarizing the views expressed on the topic, Mr. Cerf noted the discussion among the Board did not seem supportive of moving forward with a limited round of new sTLDs at this time."
So it seems that the world must wait, and not a single further TLD will proceed, because ICANN is not up to the job of evaluating and launching further TLDs.
Everything has to be delayed because ICANN has not (after all this time) carried out its Evaluation Process, and does not have staff to do the work.
We are talking about a worldwide resource generating billions of pounds and vital for a huge range of social, health and educational resources.
Why is the development of this resource being delayed by a handful of people working from a few offices in a manner which is demonstrably amateur?
Why is the development of this resource being delayed by ICANN's admitted shortcomings?
Or are these delays further evidence of a deliberate strategy?