ICANN Global Domains Division President Akram Attalah made the claim, citing his organisation’s FY18 budget, in a August 29, 2017 letter drafted in response to a proposal made by registries to reimburse some of the ICANN fees they have incurred for the right to operate new gTLDs.
The proposal, sent to ICANN in March of this year, was entitled “Registry Stakeholder Group proposal to offset new gTLD operator registry fees”. It asserted that revenue from the 2012 new gTLD round application fees would exceed ICANN’s predictions by over $96 million!
“The RySG recognizes ICANN’s reluctance to settle accounts before the smoke clears from the 2012 round and all the gTLDs are delegated and yet, ICANN is sitting on nearly $100M in applicant money that could enhance competition and consumer choice,” the RySG letter said.
In his reply, Attalah reminds registries that the 2012 round is still ongoing and that costs are therefore still to be expected.
“To date, ICANN has spent Program funds on a range of previously unforeseen expenses,” he writes. “including the formation and coordination of the Universal Acceptance Steering Group, Emergency Back-End Registry Operator Program operations, studies and mitigation plans relating to Name Collision, implementation of the Trademark Clearinghouse, support for the administration of ICANN Accountability Mechanisms, and legal fees and costs relating to the New gTLD Program. The remaining Program funds are intended to cover operating expenses and future unanticipated costs such as those listed above, which continue to occur on an ongoing basis.”
Attalah also argues that new gTLD application and operation costs were known to registry operators in advance.
In short, Attalah’s response is a very clear no!