When a new TLD is launched and multiple applicants might be trying to register the same domain name, there is always the question how to determine who will actually get the domain name and who will come second. Most people in the domain name registration business prefer such a “landrush” to be either run via an auction or if that isn’t an option by simple randomness. The latter option has however hardly ever been tried because of lawyers stepping in its way.
Randomly determining who will receive a (possibly valuable) domain name, can be seen as gambling which is banned by law in many places. So registries thought of something that actually also has much randomness in it, but isn’t random by law. It’s called “first come, first served”. Taking into account network latency and the fact that time difference between multiple applications is measured in milliseconds, this is just as random as spinning a ball in the roulette. You might be able to blow at it, hoping that it goes to a certain number, but that probably won’t cause much difference.
The launch of the new gTLD’s now turns out to be bothered by the same kind of laws. With ICANN being bound by Californian law, they also are not allowed to organise anything that might look like gambling. So if multiple requests are received for the same TLD, who to give the highest priority? They thought of something called “Time Target Variance”. It would be a nice test for a children’s TV-show, only the quizmaster is missing. What the applicant needs to do, is choose a time in the future (pick a time, any time). At the chosen time, the applicant needs to push a button (I assume it’s a virtual one on the ICANN website). The one who clicks the button to closest to the chosen time wins and gets the highest priority.
gTLD applicants are already working on a system to make clicking the button as accurate as possible and trying to place servers as near as possible to those of ICANN, to minimise network latency.
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This post was written by admin on March 13, 2012