During ICANN’s first stakeholder call held on November 20, 2014, Global Domains Division President Akram Atallah confirmed the result of the latest new gTLD auction. These are designed as an “action of last resort” to resolve contention sets, i.e. situations where more than one applicant is after the same string.
In this latest case, the string was .DOT and the applicants vying for it were Internet behemoth Google and Dish DBS, a TV company in the US. Surprisingly, the latter won the auction. Even more of a surprise was the winning bid. At USD 700,000 it looks almost cheap compared to recent multi million dollar bids.
Still, it remains a hefty sum going into ICANN’s coffers… although Atallah was quick to point out that these auction proceeds are not going towards ICANN staff’s Christmas bonuses. “These funds are segregated from ICANN’s operating budget,” he said. “Once we have a better understanding of the scale of the proceeds from the auctions, we will begin discussions with the community to determine how the funds are used.”
A total of 31 contention sets have now been resolved through ICANN auctions. Overall, 430 new gTLDs have now been delegated (i.e. activated on the Internet) and 600 contracts signed between new gTLD operators and ICANN.