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Who wants ICANN’s $60m gTLD windfall?

Kevin Murphy, September 9, 2015, 13:28:08 (UTC), Domain Policy

ICANN has opened a formal public comment period to move forward discussions on how it should spend the almost $60 million it has so far received in new gTLD auction proceeds.

It’s not yet looking for concrete suggestions on how to spend the money — this is a pre-consultation consultation — it’s only looking for comments on the principles that should be considered when discussions take place.

ICANN has so far raised $58.8 million from “last resort” new gTLD auctions. With 27 contention sets remaining, that number could go up if one or more applicants refuse to participate in private auctions.

The GNSO Council has been moving to create a Cross-Community Working Group to discuss how the money should be spent, but clashed briefly with the ICANN board, which has said it will make the ultimate decision, earlier this year.

The new paper (get it here) basically asks questions along the lines of: who should decide where the money goes? How should conflicts of interest be handled? How much third-party expert opinion should be solicited? How much say should the board have? How much outreach should there be?

Underpinning it all is the implicit problem that the longer, more detailed and more convoluted the process, the less money there will be to actually distribute at the end.

Knowing the ICANN community’s propensity for convolution, I wouldn’t be surprised if it managed to spunk the whole lot on expert advice, working group travel, lawsuits and coffee.

(Okay, I would actually be surprised, but you get my point).

The paper also includes links to about 20 spending suggestions that have been made in various public fora over the last couple of years.

Some ideas include: giving it back to the applicants, funding open source DNS software, reducing the new gTLD application fee, marketing new gTLDs to registrants, and donating it to charity.

It does not appear to be true that ICANN slipped in one of its own management’s suggestions in an attempt to funnel off new gTLD money into the unpopular NetMundial initiative, as has been alleged elsewhere today. The NetMundial suggestion referred to in the paper actually came from Danny Aerts of Swedish ccTLD manager IIS.

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Comments (9)

  1. ICANN should donate the $58.8 to charity, after-all it is a non-for-profit organization.

  2. Lisa Simpson says:

    I would like a pony. And a new saxophone.

  3. James Bladel says:

    Like a large & estranged family after the death of a rich uncle. This could get ugly.

  4. It’s time the industry to come together to message why it is so important to reinvest the funds back into promoting universal awareness and universal acceptance.

    Colin

    • Phil Buckingham says:

      I totally agree Colin. Could we put something together for Dublin ? Of course, in addition, there is also the $100M “left over ” from the gTLD programme .

      • Rubens Kuhl says:

        Considering the number of accountability process currently open that could carve out of the left over fund, I don’t think they are let go much of that money soon. They already invested a part of it though in the Universal Acceptance efforts, so they are not totally frozen.

  5. Hopefully everyone can come together in utilizing the funds to best benefit the industry.

    I added my public comments, http://forum.icann.org/lists/comments-new-gtld-auction-proceeds-08sep15/msg00008.html

  6. Zac says:

    Should go back into marketing GTLDs.

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