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ICANN reveals $500 million gTLD buyback program

Kevin Murphy, April 1, 2017, 00:01:41 (UTC), Domain Services

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.

Comments (15)

  1. Domenclature says:

    If you don’t specify that it’s an April fool’s thing, this article is not only realistic, it’s underwhelming.

  2. Alexschu Anderbert says:

    The article has it right. And wrong.

    The offer isn’t extended by ICANN – but rather by ICANN. And it isn’t a Million bucks but US $1,000,000 per gTLD. The TLD won’t “disappear” over night – but during daytime. And the parking pages will of course stay on SEDO’s servers forever – you won’t know the difference because no one ever saw them as no one ever typed in a new gTLD domain.

    The Indian domain speculators will of course keep their domains – they would have anyways as no one buys their stock. But they won’t have the burden of paying renewal fees – IF they and their registrar know the TLD was pulled.

  3. fizz says:

    Had me until the end of the second paragraph when I looked back at the date lol

  4. If it wasn’t mentioned I would have believed it. lol!

  5. Rich says:

    Wow!!!
    You had me fooled until i read:
    “The company said it welcomed the deal and plans to sell .web back to ICANN as soon as possible”
    This just shows how credible your readings are Kevin.
    For real… i looked in the browser to see if i was reading “DomainGang”

    Nice one !

  6. Mikkah says:

    what’s so funny about this is that the gtlds suck so bad that it is real believable. Bet the registries wish they can offload their .crap as described in the article.

  7. James says:

    Cool! Now folks have extra cash for the next round of applications!

  8. I like the PDF !

    πŸ˜‰

  9. Tom Baynton says:

    Too close to the truth. Ha ha!

  10. Sinisha says:

    LOL, nice one Kevin !

  11. Jeffrey Sass says:

    Hahaha. Welcome to the April Fool’s Club! The bar is raised pretty high this year to compete with the steady diet of fake and alternative news, but you handily rose to the occasion. πŸ™‚

  12. Louise says:

    That was good.

  13. Ludovic Durieux says:

    Nice one! πŸ˜‰

    You got me until: “$1 million per gTLD to any registry whose heart simply isn’t in it any more.”

    ^^

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