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Race for new top level domains now officially a lottery

Applicants for .adult and .sexy will meet in airport hotel

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The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has set December 17 as the date on which it will conduct the "prioritization draw" for new generic top level domains (gTLDs) and has announced the process will officially be a lottery.

Thousands of applications for new gTLDs have been received, as organisations seek to cash in on ICANN's decision to allow a flock of new top level domains tied to owners' company names or whims. Among the many applications are requests for .adult, .sexy, and even .afl for the Australian Football League.

The lottery is not necessarily a bad thing, as the prioritization draw is ICANN's scheme for arranging an orderly queue for gTLD applications.

Would-be gTLD owners need to get in the draw, which ICANN says will "... be done through the sale of numbered paper tickets. The tickets will be drawn and Draw Numbers will be assigned.”

To make that process valid, and presumably also to head off lawsuits and disputes, ICANN has announced it has applied for and been granted a license to hold a lottery in California, the site of the draw.

The draw will likely be hotly contested, because "Draw Numbers will be used to schedule initial evaluations and release evaluation results, the first evaluation results will be published starting in late March and finishing in late June."

A lower number in the draw will mean earlier assessment and therefore greater certainty for those organisations hoping to cash in on catchy gTLDs.

Draw Numbers "will also be used later in the process to schedule appointments for pre-delegation testing, and executing agreements."

The draw takes place on December 17 in the doubtless magnificent surrounds of the Los Angeles Airport Hilton. Tickets will be available as of December 12th.

The good news for those who aren't fond of airport hotels, Los Angeles, or both, is that it is possible to send delegates to the meeting. ®

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