The first new gTLD auctions to be held by Innovative Auctions is set to take place on Monday, but we won’t know which applicants took part until after the fact.
Innovative, which is managing the auction process designed by Cramton Associates, told DI it might announce the participants next week, after the auctions are over.
Failing that, we’ll have to infer the winners from which applications are subsequently formally withdrawn from contention with ICANN.
The only companies to publicly announce their participation so far are Donuts and Demand Media — which as partners are obviously not in any contention sets with each other — and .Club Domains.
Donuts has previously announced that it would submit 63 applications to auction, but 17 of those probably won’t go ahead because Uniregistry, which doesn’t like the private auction idea, has declined to take part.
Demand Media’s applicant, United TLD Holdco has committed its bids for .fishing, .green, .mom, .rip and .wow to the auction. Unless Uniregistry has changed its mind, the .mom one won’t be happening.
It also seems unlikely many winning bids will be disclosed.
Under the terms designed by Cramton, if only one applicant in an auction decides it wants to keep the outcome private, the other applicants will be contractually bound to keep schtum.
Private auctions will see money flow to losing applicants, some of which will also face ICANN-managed auctions at a later date. They may not want to reveal their wedge by having their pay-off public knowledge.