DotGreen, the first public and easily most visible applicant for the new gTLD .green, has withdrawn its application, saying it has become “impossible” to continue.
In a statement sent to DI tonight, founder and CEO Annalisa Roger said:
While DotGreen supported the New gTLD program, we believe we exhausted all options within the framework of the New gTLD applicant guidebook and the multi-stakeholder model for procuring .green management. DotGreen remains locked in contention facing an auction among three registry competitors from the Internet industry. Unfortunately it is impossible for DotGreen to proceed within these circumstances.
Today we withdrew DotGreen Community, Inc.’s application for the .green TLD.
DotGreen was founded in 2007 and had built up a small following of supporting environmental organizations. A charitable organization, the plan was to use the proceeds from the registry to fund worthy projects.
A prominent applicant from well before the ICANN application window opened, it held regular eco-themed events during ICANN meetings and even recruited its CFO/COO, Tim Switzer, from its back-end provider, Neustar.
(Switzer is chair of the New gTLD Applicants Group, NTAG, but is expected to resign as a result of the withdrawal.)
But it’s facing competition for .green from portfolio applicants Demand Media, Afilias, and Top Level Domain Holdings.
“It is tough for a single-string applicant,” Roger said. “An auction, sorry, it’s not the appropriate scenario for the .green TLD for several reasons. It really the undermines the authenticity and the faith that the community has put in us and the multi-stakeholder model.”
There’s no way the company could win at auction against three big portfolio applicants, she said.
Despite the company name, DotGreen Community’s application was not a “Community” application under ICANN rules and the only way out of contention was going to be private settlement or auction.
It also faced the uncertainty of Governmental Advisory Committee advice, which had classified the string as requiring extra safeguards for “consumer protection” purposes, causing indefinite delays.
It seems the final decision was financial — the cost of delays and an auction too much for the start-up to bear. It’s a pity really — there was some genuine enthusiasm for the cause behind this bid.
The .green gTLD will now go to which one of the remaining three applicants stumps up the most cash at auction.