June 2, 2017
Several proposed new community gTLDs, including .music and .gay, are currently on hold as ICANN carries out an investigation into how its own staff handled the Community Priority Evaluations process (CPE). This process is intended to provide genuine community TLD applicants with a means of avoiding a costly auction should their extension be contested.
The CPE which is carried out by the Independent Economist Intelligence Unit resulted in several divergent or incomprehensible decisions which led to numerous complaints by losing applicants that ICANN may have influenced an independent review.
The complaints led to the current investigation which has been ongoing for the past six months with no set date for completion as of yet.
Applicants affected by the delays (several of the community gTLDs have been on hold for up to five years!) have criticized ICANN saying that they do not know the identity of the independent party supposedly carrying out the investigation or which methods are being used. The applicants have also said that they have not been contacted by ICANN for their input or asked to participate in the proceedings.
The CEO of Dot Registry, one of the applicants currently awaiting the outcome of the investigation has said that the present situation is like history repeating itself: ICANN comes under fire for non-transparently influencing a supposedly independent review and addresses those criticisms by launching another non-transparent supposedly independent review.
The ICANN Board of Governance Committee Chair, Chris Disspain has said that the investigation would be completed as soon as practicable.