Batching, a term that became especially popular during ICANN 42 in Dakar, refers to the process of dividing applications for the new gTLD program into batches. Given that ICANN expected to receive over 1,000 applications, and that they knew their staff could not process over 500 applications at a time, the Board decided that it would be necessary to create separate batches to process the applications. This immediately worried potential applicants, as it was unclear whether a lottery or a system that would reward early application would be implemented. Kurt Pritz, ICANN senior vice president of stakeholder relations clarified during the GNSO special session in Dakar that there is no advantage for early or later applications. He pointed out that all applications submitted within the deadline will have equal chances to be included in any batch.
In December, 2011, just weeks before the window opened, the Board held a special meeting, where they further discussed the batching process. It was made clear that a lottery would not be used, nor would an application submitted earlier than another has an advantage. Still, the system was not defined and it was clear that they would continue to formulate this process as they received applications and progressed towards the April, 2012 deadline. The Board decided that all global regions would be fairly represented in each batch, and that there would be an opt-out mechanism for non-priority applications. 
Proposed Secondary Time Stamp
During the ICANN Board meeting on December 8, 2011 the ICANN president and CEO was tasked to develop a plan for a "secondary time stamp," which will be used to determine the processing order in case multiple batches of applications need to be processed. It was decided, applicants are required to get a time stamp right after the closing of application window if they are interested to be included in the first batches to processed. A random selection and the date of application will not be used as preference to determine batches. The Board also resolved that once the final plan of the secondary time stamp batching process is completed, it will present it to the community. The ICANN Board will approved the final operational details and it will be added to the Applicant Guidebook.
On March 2012, during the ICANN public meeting Pritz discussed the “target time variance" (secondary time stamp) system in determining the batch slots for each application. He explained that right after the deadline of the application window, new gTLD applicants need to submit a “target time” in the TLD Application System (TAS) as to when they desire their applications to be processed . Once all the target times are collected, batches will be determined based on fastest applicant from each of the five ICANN geographic regions followed by the second fastest...The selection will be done in a round-robin fashion. GNSO Council chair Stephane Van Gelder commented, "It’s clearly first-come first served." 
Approval of the Digital Archery
The ICANN Board approved the secondary time stamp, officially called “digital archery” as the most reasonable method in dividing the new gTLD applications into batches during a special meeting on March 28, 2012.  Based on the approve resolution of the Board, the digital archery batching process will be done in four steps:
- Step 1- Applicants will enter their batching preference (target date and time) in an online batching system. For example: Target Date: 11 June 2012 and Target Time: 08:00:00 EST
- Step 2- Applicants must re-enter the online batching system to generate the message sent by the system indicating their target time and date. The online batching system will then record when the message was received. For example: Message Received Date: 11 June 2012 and Message Received Time: 08:00:03)
- Step 3- The secondary time stamp will be calculated by the system using the time variance between step one (when the applicant entered his/her target time) and step two (when the message received date/time was generated/recorded). The example shows that the secondary time stamp between step one and step two is 3 secs. An application will be included in an earlier batch to be processed if the time stamp is closer to 0- if an applicant selected to participate in the earliest batch to be processed.
- Step 4- The batching selection process will combine the applicant's batching preferences, the secondary time stamp and the geographic region of a specific new gTLD application to determine its batch sequence.
See ICANN's Batching Basics here.
- ICANN New gTLDs Details Dominate Debate at ICANN 42, DomainNews.com
- New gTLDs: no advantage to applying early
- ICANN Leaves New gTLD Batching and Support Quest, DomainIncite.com
- ICANN Board Approved Resolutions-Batching
- Here’s how new gTLD batching will work
- [ http://domainincite.com/icann-approves-digital-archery-gtld-batching/ ICANN approves “digital archery” gTLD batching]
- Approved Board Resolutions| Special Meeting of the ICANN Board| March 28, 2012