ICANN is to spend its half-billion dollar auction war chest on a buyback program for failing new gTLDs, DI can reveal.
Inspired by the “Cash for Clunkers” program that provided stimulus during the economic downturn in the US a decade ago, the new program will see ICANN offer $1 million per gTLD to any registry whose heart simply isn’t in it any more.
The scheme will work rather like a stock buyback, ICANN explained in a 489-page document (PDF).
Registries opting to sell back their gTLDs will see their strings abruptly removed from the DNS root and their contracts torn up and burned on a great big bonfire.
Any domains registered in these gTLDs will stop resolving to parking pages immediately.
“We believe this program offers the most equitable distribution of auction funds and the fairest way to ensure new gTLD program participants see a return on their investment,” ICANN chair Steve Crocker said in a statement.
Portfolio registries including Donuts, Uniregistry, MMX, Radix and XYZ.com are already believed to have expressed an interest in the scheme, and were already forming a disorderly queue outside ICANN’s Los Angeles headquarters last night.
While Verisign also qualifies for the program, much of the funding will be provided by the $130 million it spent at the .web auction.
The company said it welcomed the deal and plans to sell .web back to ICANN as soon as possible. It added that it will cover the $129 million loss by fueling its data center generators with ten-dollar bills, rather than twenties, for the first three weeks of April.
But registrant groups were outraged by the proposal, which will see millions of domain names erased from the internet.
Dr General President Colonel Lucky Mfwamba (Esq), chair of the New gTLD Registrants Association, said he expects the bottom to fall out of the penis enlargement market overnight.
And in China, thousands of domain investors flocked to forums to complain that the randomly generated domains they bought at $0.20 each and hoped to sell to other investors for $0.30 each are suddenly worthless.