Afilias-owned dotMobi has applied to ICANN to auction off one and two-letter .mobi domain names, following in the footsteps on other top-level domain registries.
The company had a plan to selectively allocate some such domains based on a Request For Proposals approved by ICANN almost two years ago, now it wants to be able to auction off whatever domains remain.
dotMobi said (pdf):
Once the previously approved RFP round has concluded, dotMobi will conduct an auction of any remaining domains according to a schedule determined by dotMobi. For any domains not allocated during either the RFP or auction rounds, dotMobi will announce a release date and will invite open, first-come-first-served registrations.
Requests to allocate one and two-character domains have previously been submitted and approved by Neustar (.biz), Afilias (.info), puntCAT (.cat), Tralliance (.travel) and RegistryPro (.pro).
Telnic (.tel) has a similar proposal still under board review.
Such auctions offer a one-time windfall for the registry operator. NeuStar’s .biz auction raised a reported $360,000 last year.
As DomainNameWire reported yesterday VeriSign has withdrawn its application for one-letter auctions in .net. Its proposal would have seen expired one-character domains returned to registry control, allowing them to be re-auctioned.