A new group of App developers have stepped up and announced plans to apply for the .APP new gTLD and is going about raising the money for the application in a very unusual manner.
“.app Project” is a community funded and executed project to obtain rights to the .app gTLD when ICANN makes them available in 2012.”
“Our aim is to keep the .app gTLD open and accessible such that it becomes an entity that properly support the app software development community, particularly in areas of intellectual property protection.”
However the most interesting part of the plan for .APP is how the sponsor is trying to raise money for the $185K application fee:
We’re looking to raise 67% of the $185,000 ICANN evaluation fee through sales of memberships in the .app Project. This is the most important way in which individuals can help us make the .app Project a reality.
There are three membership levels. Each includes a number of domain registrations, priority service in domain allocation and the right to use special .app Project logo on electronic and printed materials forever.
Domain registrations represent at least a 75% discount over the expected cost of domains when the .app Project is up and running. Our current proposed cost for a .app domain is $25.00.
Silver Gold Platinum Fee $25 $50 $100 Number of free domains 2 4 10 Term of free domains 24 months 24 months 24 months Effective cost of domain per year $6.25 $6.25 $5.00 Discount 75% 75% 80% Priority allocation service Yes Yes Yes Rights to use special .app Project logos online and in print Yes Yes Yes Pre-registration limits (more) 2 domains in a 5 day period 4 domains in a 5 day period 10 domains in a 5 day period Links in member profile without ‘nofollow’ 1 2 4 25% off an Apress ebook (more) Yes Yes Yes Add to
However, the bad news is that ICANN’s fee is an evaluation fee, not a license fee. This means we still have to pay it even if we do not win. So it could be that we never get to a position to give you the domains that you want.
If we go ahead with the application to ICANN and we lose, we will get some of the money back. If this happens we will split what we get back with members on a pro rata basis, minus payment processing costs and any tax that we have to pay in the process of collecting your money.
Or, it could be that we do not put the application in to ICANN at all. (This will only happen if we do not believe that we will win.) If this happens, we will refund your fee to you, again minus payment processing costs and any tax.
We are using currently using PayPal as our payment provider, so in terms of payment charges their current fees are 3.9% + $0.30 per transaction. We will also reserve the right to take $1 for each membership that we do have to refund so that we can cover our own costs. (Remember, we may end up having to process refunds to 10,000 people and it may be that we have to pay someone to do this administrative work.)
Of course I see a lot of problems with this approach.
Anyone in the domain industry who has followed the new gTLD proocess will tell you that .App is going to be one of those generic TLD that has a huge probability of having multiple applicants.
IMHO The chance that one company is going to get this extension for application fee is less than 1%.
If the applicant is planning on applying for the string as a community, statements made at the ICANN meeting make this seem quite unrealistic, plus there is sure to be opposition to the application which will increase the costs even further.
Moreover the costs of meeting ICANN’s criteria and getting the application through is going to cost much more than just the application fee.
“”Or, it could be that we do not put the application in to ICANN at all. (This will only happen if we do not believe that we will win.)”
Since the applications will have to be submitted in the blind, meaning that know one will know what other applications have been submitted for a string until the application period closes, its impossible to make a judgement on success. The only way to be somewhat certain of success when going after a highly sort generic like .APP will be if you have a LOT of money in the bank, or contingent financing in case you need to win it at an auction.
The new gTLD program is challenging enough.
IMHO, taking $100 from 1,200 people or $25 from 4,800 people without full disclosure of the process will just get a lot of people pissed off at the process.