As well as arbitrarily creating winners and losers, creating unfair advantages for certain types of applicants and for certain regions, the program may be suffering from another software “glitch” of the kind that damaged the application process. There is a much better solution: a single batch for all applications.
In a phone followup to our communication with ICANN regarding the glitch we discovered with the Digital Archery program, ICANN acknowledged that the issue was real, but that it related to display only (not to actual data recorded), and that the issue has been fixed as of Saturday.
I applaud ICANN for the followup and the quick fix, and hope that it was a one-off problem and not a harbinger of other troubles. The batching program itself remains deeply flawed as discussed in my previous post and as communicated in a letter to Cherine Chalaby, ICANN Board member and Chair of the Board New gTLD Program Committee.
Digital Archery Experts, Pool.com and Key-Systems are offering digital archery services. The companies promise that they can secure a slot in the first batch of applications that will be initially evaluated by ICANN.
Under Pool.com’s Digital Archery Engine, the fee will be $25,000 if the company will be able to secure a spot in the first batch, $10,000 for spot in the second batch and there will be no fee if the spot secured for a client falls under batch 3 or lower.
On the other hand, under Digital Archery Experts’ Batch One Bullseye offering, the company is accepting clients on a first come per serve basis and they will only pay if they are included in the first batch.  The company partnered with Sedari, a gTLD business management firm in offering the Batch One Bullseye digital archery service to its clients.
Meanwhile, Key-Systems is offering its digital archery service to new gTLD applicants for €15,000 ($18,800). According to Alexander Siffrin, CEO of the company his team was able “hit the specified time exactly in the testing system – matching even the millisecond.”