ICANN: No New gTLD’s Last Resort Auctions Until Early March 2014

In a webinar held by ICANN today on its Last Resort Auction for new gTLD strings in contention,  ICANN stated that no new gTLD ICANN last resort auction will be held in 2013 and most likely not until March 2014.

Moreover the ICANN schedule is 10-20 auctions per month, with no applicant being able to participate in more than 5 auctions per month.

So a company like Donuts which has over 100 applications in contention, based on the current time frame could be looking at a couple of years to settle all of its strings in contention from March 2014 which is 4 months away and based on the assumption that there will be no further delays and everything will run on projected time.


Here are the other highlights from the Webinar:

Applicants are still encouraged to settle their contention between themselves as the ICANN auction is truly a “Last Resort” auction.

ICANN will send a notice of “Intent to Auction” once all applications in a contention set and  responses are due 30 days after notification.

Once the responses are received paperwork will be sent out to the applicants

30 days after all the paperwork has been returned applicants will receive notice of auction date, including wiring instructions and deadline for deposits.

Deposits have to be 10% of the maximum bid .

If you want to have a unlimited bid for a string, an applicant will have to deposit $2 Million dollars, per string,  per bidder.

All deposits are due 7 days before auction date.

At first all auctions will be held once a month on a Wednesday and 10-20 strings in contention will be auctioned off per month.

The auction will not be opened for public viewing

Mock auction will be available only 1 day before auction the ICANN auction

The will be a “Blackout Period” which will start 7 days prior to auction so in the blackout period the parties can no longer talk to each other and no “deals” can be made.

Payment for the string by the winner will be due  within 20 business days after auction

ICANN still is not ready to announce the bank where the funds will be held.

All bidding limited will be kept confidential, however all the results of the auction will be public:

“For each auction there will be a report with a starting and ending price of each round, including the amount paid by the winner for each string”

As to where the potentially  hundreds of millions of dollars that ICANN stands to collect from the auctions ICANN is still being as elusive as ever saying:

“Proceeds will be reserved for ICANN  core mission and consistent with it’s non-profit status”


Each applicant will be at first limited to 5 new gTLD extensions per month.

In the case of large applicants it will take well over two years from March 2014 to clear out all the auctions based on this timeline.

Once the Notice to Auction is sent all the applicants in a particular string, one 90 days postponement is available but all applicants in the set will have to agree on the basis that they are trying to settle the set to get the 90 day extension.

All and all I think ICANN made the best argument that they could have made for applicants to use the private auction houses so they can resolve contention on their own the terms and conditions rather than wait between March 2014 and and April 2016 when the ICANN last resort auction will be held based on their current time line (10 per a month would take some 25 months from the 1st auction to be held in March 2014).

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