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ICANN flubs new domain deadline after site snafu

'Unusual behaviour' blamed in gTLD hiccup

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ICANN has extended the deadline for companies to apply for new generic top-level domains after "unusual behaviour" forced it to shut down its online application system.

Just 12 hours before the 2359 UTC filing deadline last night, ICANN took its TLD Application System offline, saying it needed time to repair an unspecified technical glitch.

The TLD Application System (TAS) is essentially a complex custom-built web form that gTLD applicants can use to answer the 50 questions asked of them by the ICANN evaluation process.

ICANN said today that it recently "received a report of unusual behaviour with the operation of the TAS system" and then it "identified a technical issue with the TAS system software."

As a result, ICANN has taken TAS offline for fixes and testing until next Tuesday, and it has extended the application window, which opened 12 January, until 2359 UTC Friday 20 April.

Details of what caused the downtime are still sketchy, but an ICANN spokesperson said it was not the result of malicious activity.

"There was not a cyber-attack of any type," he said. "No application data has been lost from those who have already submitted applications, so it should not pose problems for existing applicants."

Applicants speaking to El Reg today reported that the system was running more slowly than usual after it returned from scheduled maintenance last night.

Some have speculated that a last-minute rush of applications may be to blame for the problems. Others have fingered long-known problems with TAS's ability to handle certain special characters.

As of 25 March, there were 839 registered accounts in TAS, each of which can be used to file up to 50 new gTLD applicants. Most people expect ICANN to receive 1,000 to 1,500 applications in total. ®

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