In the public forum at the ICANN Meeting, Chairman of ICANN Steve Crocker told the crowd that when it comes to excess funds coming from application fees and auction proceeds, they don’t know what they are going to do with the money, only that the excess money will will not be coming back to the applicants that paid the money.
“On the subject of application funds received, we heard it’s not ICANN’s money.”
“We have been asked “when will applicants get their money back? What will happen with auction funds? What are we going to did about all that?”
“I’m sad to tell you we’re not going to give you the money back.”
“We’re going to recognize that we’re stewards of this money for sure.”
“We acknowledge the questions. but it’s too early in the application process to consider, exactly what’s going to be.”
“When we have a better understanding of the financial picture we will carefully consider and consult and report.”
“We will have a full and careful process about dealing with the funds, there’s way too many risks and uncertainties for us to make decisions different from what we have made before.”
This is a troubling development for new gTLD applicants in that ICANN has said all along that the application fee was for cost recovery of processing the applications. ICANN has budgeted virtually nothing coming in from auctions of extensions with multiple applications which I estimate could easily bring in tens of millions if not hundreds of millions more to ICANN.
Many applicants assumed that a portion of the excess fees including auction proceeds collected by ICANN would be returned to the applicants.