Donuts Agrees To Private Auctions For 63 New gTLD’s: Will Anyone Come To Play?

According to a Press Release just out, Donuts Inc., the largest applicant in the new gTLD’s program has committed to participate in the first online applicant auction for 63 of the 307 total gTLDs for which it has applied.

The announcement is made in advance of next week’s commitment date for participation in the auction, which will be held on June 3 and is the first of a planned series of applicant auctions.

However the question becomes is how many other applications will agree to participate?


The auctions will occur only if all applicants for a specific string agree to participate.

To date we have been told that some of the largest new gTLD applicants will not participate in the new gTLD private auctions, including Uniregistry, Famous Four, Google and Amazon.

Further complicating  applicants trying to settle contention,  many of the new gTLD’s with multiple applicants are  facing GAC advice to which ICANN’s response won’t be known until after these auctions are to be held.

Depending on how ICANN deals with the GAC advice and how restrictive registrations in the particular new gTLD will or will not becomes, its going to go to the value of the string, with GAC advice hanging out there is questionable how many applicants are going to step up, go to auction, pay the non-winning bidders in the auction, and taking the risk of how GAC advice will be dealt with.

Many new gTLD extension also face formal objections which are yet to be heard.

Finally only 350 new gTLD applications have gone through ICANN Initial Evaluation (IE).

New gTLD applicants may be reluctant to go into a private auction with applicants who have not not passed IE

If applicants for a string with multiple application can’t reach agreement on resolving contention, ICANN will conduct an “auction of last resort.”

However ICANN has not set any dates which its auction of last resort will be held.


  1. says

    Very good question and a test of source…

    IMO reality is starting to sink in “domainers will participate in a very limted basis if at all ” (money is scarce at this level) developers are in a “wait and see” position (gTLD Google algorithm future behavior will be a HUGE factor) additionally the secular world is clueless about this upcoming “dot crap-ola Tsunami” so who is going to buy? aside companies in a defensive mode? …
    The white Elephant:
    The domain market is crushed (take your rosy glasses off) partially due to the Economic crisis and in part due to the uncertainty created by the New gTLD scenario…
    the forums are “ghost towns”, the only people that will make money in this second Gold Rush will be the people at the top of the food chain (shovels and picks) :Registries, Registry services and “Experienced Consultants” specially of the legal kind (Monte, Berryhill, Goldberg, Demand Media et al ) …

    the DOT CO success can’t not be duplicated simply because monies will be very diluted…

    It is going to take many years for the domain market to recuperate and only the premium domains will be worth owning, watch the deletion cycle in the years to come it could be of “biblical proportions” , mergers and acquisitions will be the way to survive at the registrar/brokerage level…

    If you own a Good portfolio of Dot-coms and are touting the new gTLD as “the next big thing” you are hurting your won assets (you can’t serve 2 masters) UNLESS of course you are already “securely” positioned to profit from this upcoming “Dot crap-ola” (F. Schilling comes to mind)

    The great majority of the New gTLDs will prove to be fiascos…

    sit down it will be along long ride.

    Can you smell the Tulips?

  2. says


    great post.

    forums are dead.. there will probably be another rush of new “domainers” though but with this many TLD’s domain flipping would probably have to become as popular as selling on ebay, for example, to make it profitable it seems like.. even then with that many options seems unlikely reseller prices would reach the level they were at 5 or so years ago..

  3. Dave Tyrer says

    Great post from Mike with insights beyond mere reporting and great comment from Domo.

    Personally though, I expect quite a lot of the new gTLDs to be quite successful, if you agree half a million registrations is successful (compared to dot com’s more than 100 million). Successful for endusers.

    What always seems to be missing from these discussions is the impact of the dot brands. Hundreds of the world’s greatest corporations are impatiently standing by ready to spend millions on their new private strings. The brands are saying things like they “WILL DO WHATEVER IS NECESSARY” to make sure the public knows about their new websites. The company I’m referring to here has 300,000 employees, and that’s just one of more than 600 companies applying for a dot brand…

    That’s worth pondering…

    “whatever is necessary.”

    The brands are going to pave the way to break the exclusively dot com habit.

    You probably want to know who said “will do whatever is necessary”. The statement is from General Electric’s string application:

    ———————— Q U O T E

    “General Electric spends many millions of dollars each year in marketing the GE brands and a higher percentage of these marketing dollars are in the online space each year. The .GECOMPANY gTLD may therefore play a large role in the company’s future online strategy. General Electric will use large portions of its marketing budget to speed up the process of customer recognition and adoption of .GECOMPANY. General Electric will do whatever is necessary to make sure that the public feels as if the .GECOMPANY gTLD is the place to go for consistent information about GE…”

    General Electric


    Some corporations are talking about “transitioning” their websites, often involving hundreds of brands and trademarks and categories, under their new dot brand names. (Naturally they will retain their flagship corporate dot com though.)

    If you use GE products (or any of 600 other big brands) it will be kinda tricky to avoid their private websites.

    I’ve got more analysis of the brand domains at SuperMonopolies:

    The brands are going to cut through and change perceptions, we’re all going to be visiting sites like Fridge.gecompany and frequently.

    Other applications say comparable things. Some talk about unifying their brands and domains, away from dozens of ccTLDs for example, onto a single dot brand spectrum. Some even talk specifically about the expense and difficulty of previously having to buy aftermarket domains even if available, now they will be able to circumvent this process.


    About the Donuts’ auctions, it’s bizarre. One string is .jewelry, and Donuts’ only competitor is Richemont – who is applying for a closed gTLD for that extension… and the GAC’s advice to ICANN is that it must be in the public interest. So as Mike implies, there is a real possibility that Richemont’s application will ultimately be rejected, so participating in an auction before that controversy is settled would be quite bizarre.

    What happens if they pay Donuts $15m for .jewelry, and later ICANN rejects their application?

    Also, it raises a very interesting quandary for Richemont. As the world’s third largest luxury goods group and owner of brands like Cartier, they have the resources and motivation to outbid Donuts in this auction, but they will have to decide if it is in their best interests to go to auction privately or to wait and go to an ICANN auction later.

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