Centre for Internet & Society

CIS sent ICANN a request under its Documentary Information Disclosure Policy, seeking information regarding revenues received from gTLD auctions. CIS' request and ICANN's response are detailed below.


CIS Request

12 January 2015


Mr. Fadi Chehade, CEO and President

Mr. Steve Crocker, Chairman of the Board

Sub: Revenues from gTLD auctions

It is our understanding that an auction for a Generic Top Level Domain (gTLD) is used as a last-resort mechanism in order to resolve string contention, i.e., when there are groups of applications for same or confusingly similar new gTLDs. As of now, the ICANN website only furnishes information of the winning applicant and the winning price, as regards each new gTLD auction.[1] We have observed that information regarding the bids from all other applicants is not available. The revenue information provided to us[2] does not include revenues from new gTLDs.

In this regard, we request you to provide us with the following information:

(i)    How many gTLDs have been sold via the auction process, since its inception?

(ii)   What were the starting and winning bids in the ICANN auctions conducted?

(iii) What revenue has ICANN received from the gTLD auctions, since the first ICANN auction was conducted? Please also provide information about the winner (name, corporate information provided to/ available with ICANN).

(iv) How are proceeds from the gTLD auction process utilized?

We believe that this information will give us a framework for understanding the gTLD auction process within ICANN. Furthermore, it will assist us in understanding the manner and purpose for which the proceeds from the auctioning process are utilized, in the broader structure of ICANN transparency and accountability.

We hope that our request will be processed within the stipulated time period of 30 days. Do let us know if you require any clarifications on our queries.

Warm regards,

Lakshmi Venkataraman,

IV Year, NALSAR University of Law, Hyderabad,

for Centre for Internet & Society

W: http://cis-india.org


ICANN Response

ICANN's response to the above query is positive. ICANN states that all information surrounding the auctions is available on the New gTLDs microsite, and on the Auctions page: http://newgtlds.icann.org/en/applicants/auctions. The current status of auction proceeds and costs are available at http://newgtlds.icann.org/en/applicants/auctions/proceeds, and auction results are at https://gtldresult.icann.org/application-result/applicationstatus/auctionresults. The utilization of proceeds from the auctions is yet to be decided by the ICANN Board: “[auction] proceeds will be reserved and earmarked until the Board determines a plan for the appropriate use of the funds through consultation with the community. Auction proceeds are net of any Auction costs. Auction costs may include initial set-up costs, auction management fees, and escrow fees.”

ICANN's response to our DIDP request may be found here. A short summary of our request and ICANN's response may be found in this table (Request S. no. 6).

[1] See Auction Results, https://gtldresult.icann.org/application-result/applicationstatus/auctionresults.

[2] See ICANN reveals hitherto undisclosed details of domain names revenues, http://cis-india.org/internet-governance/blog/cis-receives-information-on-icanns-revenues-from-domain-names-fy-2014.

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