On June 20, 2011, at around 12:00PM local time, during its meeting in Singapore, ICANN's Board adopted resolution on new Top Level Domains program. The adopted resolution gives the opportunity for applicants to submit their proposals for new gTLD starting January 12, 2012. The application period would end April 12, 2012 and the initial evaluations will be published by November 2012.
Overwhelmingly approved resolution by the Board (13 approving, 1 opposed, and 2 abstaining) has been greeted with cheering and applause from the attendees of the ICANN conference in Singapore. I didn't know that just by raising hands, ICANN Board members can trigger orgasm among new gTLD applicants. ;)
Anyway, I can imagine how much alcohol will be consumed tonight… ;)
Congratulations to ICANN Board and good luck to all applicants! I personally expect around 300-500 applications to be submitted by April 2012. Assuming that 90% will be accepted by ICANN, it will dramatically increase number of gTLDs in 2013 from today's 22 gTLDs.
The real game and the real hard work just start. Back-end registry providers, consultants and applicants – this year there will be no Christmas for you. If you work hard enough, Santa Claus will come to you in November 2012 with the letter from ICANN stating “your application(s) has been accepted”.