ICANN received a whopping 14 responses to its recent request for emergency back-end registry operators, contracts that could turn lucrative if and when new gTLDs start going out of business.
Following a request for information last month, responses received before the December 5 deadline came from Europe, Asia and North and South America, ICANN’s Karla Valente blogged.
While 14 may not seem like a lot, I’m only aware of 19 companies that are actively marketing new gTLD back-end registry services, so it’s a pretty high response rate.
The EBERO’s job is to make sure domain names continue to work after a new gTLD registry goes out of business. In the worst case scenario, it keeps the names resolving for up to three years, giving registrants the opportunity to migrate to another TLD.
The EBERO may, and I’m speculating here, also have an advantage in talks to take over the failed TLD full-time.
The successful providers will be paid from the Continuing Operations Instrument, a big chunk of cash that all new gTLD applicants are obliged to put aside to pay for their own funeral costs.
The price the successful EBEROs intend to charge is an important consideration when applicants calculate the size of their own COI, but those numbers have not yet been revealed.
The EBERO idea has come in for a bit of criticism due to ICANN’s high technical demands – 25,000 concurrent connections for an essentially stagnant TLD, for example – which some say favors incumbent registry operators such as VeriSign, Afilias and Neustar.
ICANN may wind up selecting more than one EBERO when it makes its decision early next year.