ICANN now has over $230 million in its coffers, the proceeds from New gTLD program auctions. The latest record breaking price is of $135 million to operate the .WEB gTLD.
On 27 July 2016, Power Auctions LLC, ICANN’s authorized auction service provider, conducted a New Generic Top-Level Domain (gTLD) Program auction to resolve contention for .WEB and .WEBS. Auction serves as the method of last resort for determining which applicant may operate a gTLD when several entities have applied for the same or confusingly similar gTLDs. This method was defined through ICANN’s bottom-up, multistakeholder process.
Eight applicants completed the requirements for participating in the .WEB/.WEBS auction. NU DOT CO LLC prevailed in the auction for the price of $135 million to operate the .WEB gTLD, and Vistaprint Ltd prevailed with a price of $1 for the .WEBS gTLD.
There have been speculations on who coughed up the record auction fees.
Andrew Allemann reported that “It looks like Verisign bought .Web domain for $135 million,…Based on an SEC filing this afternoon, it looks like Nu Dot Co was the winner of today’s .web auction and Verisign is behind the bid.”
“This is three times the previous record of $45m for .shop, and seven times the average auction price for top-level domains,” Kieren McCarthy writes in The Register. “The massive price tag has raised eyebrows in the domain name industry, not least because one of the companies taking part in the bidding last week sued the non-profit running it, ICANN, in an effort to prevent the auction from going ahead.”
How will ICANN use the proceeds? (good) use?
“Many times, the organisation has proven woefully inept at money management. Currently, the ICANN community is reeling from the discovery that an ICANN group, put in charge of coming up with a workable plan to transition control of the Internet away from the US government, was allowed to run free and spend millions in legal fees alone.” writes Stéphane Van Gelder of StartingDot, Milathan on CircleID.
“New gTLD Program auctions are the community-established, last resort method to help determine which applicant will have the opportunity to operate a particular new generic top-level domain, when multiple entities vied for the same or confusingly similar domains.” said Akram Atallah, president of ICANN’s Global Domains Division. “We look forward to seeing the community’s recommendations for the use of these proceeds.”