ICANN's gTLD application system back in action

The system was brought down on April 12 after a software glitch was found

Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) said Monday that its application system for new generic top-level domains (gTLDs) has reopened, more than a month after it was brought down because of a software glitch.

Registered applicants can now log in, review and submit their applications on the TLD Application System (TAS) which will stay open until 23:59 GMT on May 30, ICANN chief operating officer Akram Atallah said in a statement. Two-hour maintenance windows have been scheduled on three days, he added.

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"During the last few weeks, we have fixed the technical glitch that caused us to take the system offline," Atallah said. "Also, to address user feedback, we have improved the overall system performance and the HTML preview function."

ICANN had earlier reported that system response had slowed down before TAS was taken down because of increased user volume as the end of the application period was reached.

A document is available on a microsite to provide advice on logging into and completing applications, submitting wire transfers, and contacting customer service.

TAS was brought down on April 12 by ICANN after it found a software glitch in the way the application system handled attachments, that could result in some users being able to see some other users' file names and user names in certain scenarios. The organization however said that it had no evidence that the system had been hacked or was targeted by any kind of cyber-attack.

The last date for submitting applications was earlier fixed for April 12, but was later postponed to April 20 after the software glitch was found.

ICANN said earlier this month that it hoped to reopen on May 22 the system that will allow for applications for new TLDs including in non-Latin, and non-English scripts. The organization's board of directors approved in June last year an increase in the number of gTLDs from the current 22, a move which was criticized by trademark owners who claimed it will become difficult for them to protect their intellectual property over a large number of new TLDs.

ICANN said it had delayed in reopening the system to ensure that the glitch has been resolved and testing had been completed.

When the system was taken offline on April 12, just over twelve hours remained in the application window. "We anticipate keeping TAS open for eight full days to allow users to review their applications and complete any remaining activities," Atallah said in a statement on Thursday.

In its continuing review of the system logs and system traffic, ICANN said on Monday it determined that in two instances, a single file might have been temporarily unavailable to an applicant. Full access to the two files has been restored, and ICANN notified the affected users. There is no indication that unauthorized users were able to download, view, or modify the contents of these files, it added.

TAS held 2,091 applications either submitted or in progress when it was taken offline. There are also 214 potential applications that were registered prior to March 29, but whose payments have not yet been received or reconciled, ICANN said. The organization received about US$350 million in fees for applications for new gTLDs. In a bid to mollify applicants, ICANN offered $5,000 to applicants wishing to withdraw an application prior to publication of the list of new top-level domain names that were applied for, in addition to the refund they were ordinarily eligible to receive.

John Ribeiro covers outsourcing and general technology breaking news from India for The IDG News Service. Follow John on Twitter at @Johnribeiro. John's e-mail address is john_ribeiro@idg.com

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