Allow more flexibility in case of string contention. Be applicant friendly not just ICANN friendly.
iThe current proposal calls for the applicant to voluntary withdraw his application, if the applicant feels that it is not worth his resources defending his initial selection. It is not clear how much of the application fee will be returned. One may argue that the applicant may take the refund and apply for another gTLD string, however this wouldn’t be possible if the string contention happens after the submission deadline.
Better action would be to allow the applicant to change his application to another gTLD string, without withdrawal and potential re-submission. In addition, ICANN may consider allowing applicants to apply for up to x ( x being a reasonable number like 5 for example) gTLD strings with one application with a mandate to reduce it to one after string contention check.
Judging from the previous round of gTLD applications, where I was a participant, it will be quite common for multiple applicants to apply for the same gTLD string.
That’s why it is important to have a smooth and applicant friendly process at this stage.
ICANN may charge “change fee” if such action leads to extra work for ICANN and to discourage frivolous changes.
In conclusion more flexibility in the gTLD string submission and contention resolution will provide for greater variety of strings and operators, which is consistent with the objective of the new gTLD initiative.
Thanks for your attention to this matter.