The upcoming auction for .shop and .shopping new gTLDs is weird, but in a different way to which I reported on Friday.
The actual rules, which are pretty complicated, mean that one applicant could win a gTLD auction without spending a single penny.
The nine applicants for .shop and the two applicants for .shopping are not necessarily all fighting it out to be a single victor, which is what I originally reported.
Rather, it seems to be certain that both .shop and .shopping will wind up being delegated.
The ICANN rules about indirect contention are not well-documented, as far as I can tell.
When I originally reported on the rules exactly two years ago today, I thought an animated GIF of a man’s head exploding was an appropriate way to end the story.
In the .shop/.shopping case, it seems that all 11 applications — nine for .shop and two for .shopping — will be lumped into the same auction.
Which applicant drops out first will determine whether both strings get delegated or only one.
Uniregistry and Donuts have applied for .shopping, but only Donuts’ application is in contention with Commercial Connect’s .shop application (due to a String Confusion Objection).
As Donuts has applied for both .shop and .shopping, it will be submitting separate bids for each application during the auction.
The auction could play out in one of three general ways.
Commercial Connect drops out. If Commercial Connect finds the .shop auction getting too rich for it and drops out, the .shopping contention set will immediately become an entirely separate auction between Uniregistry and Donuts. In this scenario, both .shop and .shopping get to become real gTLDs.
Donuts drops its .shopping bid. If Donuts drops its bid for .shopping, Uniregistry is no longer in indirect contention with Commercial Connect’s .shop application, so it gets .shopping for free.
Commercial Connect wins .shop. If Commercial Connect prevails in .shop, that means Donuts has withdrawn from the .shopping auction and Uniregistry wins.
It’s complicated, and doesn’t make a lot of logical sense, but it seems them’s the rules.
It could have been even more complex. Until recently, Amazon’s application for .通販 was also in indirect contention with .shop.
Thanks to Rubens Kuhl of Nic.br for pointing out the error.