Eighteen multiple listing services that have formed a non-profit company to create and manage a new "generic" top-level Internet domain, .MLS, have postponed until next year a planned application to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).

Eighteen multiple listing services that have formed a nonprofit company to create and manage a new "generic" top-level Internet domain, .MLS, have postponed until next year a planned application to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).

ICANN will hold a meeting in Brussels, Belgium, this month, "and the probability of a 2010 application window is now almost zero," the MLS Domains Association said in announcing the extension of a deadline for founding members to claim domains by two weeks, to Aug. 15.

When the MLS Domains Association launched with 15 members in March, Brian Larson, an attorney and consultant advising the company, said the association hoped to have at least 175 of the nation’s roughly 900 MLSs signed up by the fourth quarter of 2010.

That’s the level of participation needed not only to cover the estimated $185,000 in ICANN application costs, but to demonstrate to ICANN that the MLS Domains Association represents the industry, Larson said at the time.

Since then, the MLS Domains Association has announced the addition of three MLSs to the group: Northeast Florida Multiple Listing Service, the Lehigh Valley Association of Realtors, and the Florida Gulf Coast Multiple Listing Service Inc.

Larson told Inman News in an e-mail Thursday that when the agenda and other documentation for ICANN’s Brussels meeting recently became available online, it became clear that ICANN would not be holding a vote this month to authorize a 2010 application.

"We expected this earlier, but until we had the final Brussels agenda" and associated materials including the latest version of a guide to applicants published May 31, "the board was uncomfortable loosening the schedule," Larson said.

Larson said ICANN insiders have told the group that "the probability of a 2010 application window is vanishingly close to zero. Under these circumstances, the board was comfortable loosening the schedule. If ICANN’s schedule loosens further, it’s possible ours will, too."

CEOs of the founding MLSs are in the process of contacting other MLSs personally to invite them to join the MLS Domains Association, and need more time to make those contacts, the association said in announcing the schedule change.

MLSs considering joining as founding members will in many cases have to discuss the issue with board members, and the original schedule did not allow for as much time as MLSs would have liked, the association said.

Founding members each pay more than $13,000 in fees that they will forfeit if the effort does not succeed.

Founding members will be granted the right to claim up to 10 .MLS domains during a "founders sunrise" period that is now scheduled to run from July 15-Aug. 15, two weeks later than originally scheduled.

A "general landrush" period during which all MLSs belonging to the association will be able to claim .MLS domains is now likely to take place in the early fall rather than at the end of the summer, the association said.

Some domains have already been claimed during a "stakeholder reservation phase" that ended June 14, the group announced Thursday.

Among the 30 domains already claimed are Chicago.MLS, Metro.MLS, CentralFlorida.MLS, CentralTexas.MLS, Carolina.MLS, MetroDetroit.MLS, Atlanta.MLS, TwinCities.MLS, SouthernCalifonia.MLS, Raleigh.MLS.

Those domains — which will not exist unless ICANN approves the creation of an .MLS top-level domain — were claimed by Midwest Real Estate Data LLC, Metropolitan Regional Information Systems Inc., My Florida Regional MLS, Austin Board of Realtors/ACTRIS, Carolina Multiple Listing Services Inc., Realcomp II Ltd., First Multiple Listing Service Inc., Regional Multiple Listing Service of Minnesota Inc., Southern California Multiple Listing Service, and Triangle Multiple Listing Service.

Other founding members of the MLS Domains Association are Arizona Regional Multiple Listing Service Inc., Multi Regional Multiple Listing Service, Multiple Listing Service Inc., Realtor Association of Greater Fort Lauderdale, and TREND MLS.

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