The Internet’s governing body said this week that a glitch with the handling of attachments was the culprit behind the takedown of its domain name application system.
The problem, however, also allowed some applicants to view other applicants’ file and user names.
The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers’ (ICANN) domain name application system is still offline, but the organization promised an update no later than April 20.
« ICANN’s review of the technical glitch that resulted in the TLD application system being taken offline indicates that the issue stems from a problem in the way the system handled interrupted deletions of file attachments, » ICANN said in a statement. « This resulted in some applicants being able to see some other applicants’ file names and user names. »
At issue is ICANN’s plan to open up new generic top-level domains (gTLDs). At this point, there are 22 gTLDs, including .com, .org, and .net. In June, however, ICANN approved a plan that would allow people to apply for new gTLDs, like .pcmag, for example.
ICANN has been accepting gTLD applications via its TLD Application System (TAS) since Jan. 12 and was scheduled to close up shop on April 12, but the glitch prompted a temporary shutdown.
ICANN admitted that « some applicants were able to see file names and user names that belonged to other applicants. An intensive review has produced no evidence that any data beyond the file names and user names could be accessed by other users. In addition, it does not appear that this issue caused any corruption or loss of data. »
Nonetheless, ICANN said it wants to inform any affected parties before re-opening the system.
Signing up for a new gTLD is not as easy as claiming a new website. Applicants must pay a $185,000 evaluation fee, with $5,000 upfront. They might also be required to pay even more « in certain cases where specialized process steps are applicable, » in addition to business startup costs, ICANN said.
ICANN was scheduled to publish a list of applied-for domain names by April 30, but it’s unclear if that’s still a go. « We will update the target date for publication as part of our update on the timing of the reopening, no later than Friday, 20 April at 23.59 UTC, » ICANN said.
Before the application period opened, members of Congress, the FTC, and Commerce Department were concerned that there was too much uncertainty surrounding the process. ICANN declined to delay the process, saying any objection was simply « unsubstantiated fear. »
Last week, Google confirmed that it would be applying for a gTLD, but the search giant did not reveal the names it would be looking to claim – .google or .youtube, perhaps?
One controversial gTLD is .xxx, intended for use by the adult industry. ICANN officially approved the creation of a .xxx domain in March 2011, paving the way for a virtual red-light district. The ICM registry opened up public registration for these adults-only domains in December.