VeriSign has confirmed that it wants to auction off single-character .com domain names, following a test with the equivalent .net domains.
The company recently asked ICANN for permission to sell one and two-letter .net domains. As Andrew Allemann noted at the time, that was a pretty strong indicator it would want to do the same with .com.
Now the company has admitted as much, and is looking for an online auction provider to handle the sales. It published a Request For Proposals today. The RFP says:
VeriSign intends to submit a proposal to ICANN through the RSEP [Registry Services Evaluation Process] and anticipates allocating .com single and two character domain name registrations through an auction as well
One and two-letter domains are currently restricted, due to the potential confusion with country-code TLDs. ICANN has been gradually lifting that restriction in some of the less-popular TLDs.
If VeriSign is also given permission, which seems likely, the auctions would certainly be lucrative.
If o.co can fetch $350,000, how much would Overstock, which has been screaming out for o.com for years, stump up for the .com equivalent? I also recall, years ago, Yahoo saying it wanted y.com.
But VeriSign might not be the main beneficiary of the proceeds. In its .net application, it says that it would use any money raised with the .com auctions for the common good.
VeriSign is not hereby proposing a release of .com single and/or two character domain names. VeriSign anticipates that any such proposal will be structured differently than the proposal for .net and will include use of proceeds from any auction for the benefit of the general Internet community.
That’s open to interpretation, of course. Investing a few million dollars in upgrading its infrastructure could be said to benefit the general internet community.