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.