ICANN has released its weekly batch of new gTLD Initial Evaluation results and it includes the program’s second and third failures.
Two dot-brand applications — .olayangroup and .mckinsey, filed by Olayan Investments and McKinsey Holdings — didn’t get passing scores and are now categorized as “Eligible for Extended Evaluation”.
Both — like the only other failure to date, also filed by Olayan — passed the technical evaluation but failed on question 45, which asks the applicant to provide financial statements.
The strings that have passed IE this week are:
.dog, .pharmacy, .sener, .skydrive, .soy, .sport, .grocery, .rightathome, .scjohnson, .jll, .hosting, .americanexpress, .yamaxun, .analytics, .construction, .land, .management, .systems, .surgery, .news, .data, .reisen, .rugby, .theater, .university, .cba, .ads, .how, .chrome, .vanguard, .meo, .lotte, .hughes, .praxi, .uno, .versicherung, .blog, .bmw, .shangrila, .yandex and .bbc
There are now 341 passing applications and three failures.
Donuts has committed 63 of its 307 new gTLD applications to a private auction next month, but at least 17 of them are doomed already because rival Uniregistry won’t take part.
Donuts, which does not want to enter into joint ventures with competing gTLD applicants, has decided to use a private auction managed by Cramton Associates instead of an ICANN auction.
The first round of auctions are due to kick off June 3, but Cramton has set a deadline of next week for applicants to commit the strings they want to bid on.
Donuts has put forward these ones (note that they’re different to those reported elsewhere earlier due to a couple of typos in the original press release):
.apartments, .auction, .audio, .baseball, .boats, .cafe, .church, .college, .construction, .direct, .discount, .fish, .football, .forsale, .furniture, .fyi, .global, .gratis, .guide, .juegos, .jewelry, .legal, .living, .luxury, .phone, .photography, .plus, .red, .run, .storage, .theater, .trading, .vote, .beauty, .broadway, .city, .club, .forum, .garden, .help, .hosting, .hot, .marketing, .media, .memorial, .wedding, .chat, .online, .pizza, .sale, .salon, .school, .search, .show, .soccer, .team, .group, .site, .style, .law, .store, .blog, and .art.
Running the list through the DI PRO database, we quickly discover that 33 of these strings are in two-horse races, 13 have three applicants, nine have four and three have five.
The remaining four contention sets have six, seven, nine and 10 applicants respectively.
Uniregistry, the portfolio applicant run by domainer Frank Schilling, is involved in 17 of the contention sets, and Schilling confirmed to DI today that the company does not intend to participate.
Because all applicants in a contention set need to commit for the auction to be meaningful, we can assume that at least 17 of Donuts’ proposed auctions will not go ahead, unless Uniregistry changes its mind.
Top Level Domain Holdings has applied for 13 of the strings Donuts wants to take to auction. TLDH has also expressed concern in the past about the private auction concept.
Directi, Famous Four Media and Google are each involved in eight of the contention sets, while Amazon is involved in five.
According to Cramton, each auction will take place in bidding rounds, with the first round having a maximum bid of $50,000 multiplied by the number of applicants and subsequent rounds increasing that by 10% multiplied by the number of bidders.
If any applicant in a given auction requests privacy, then the winning amount will not be disclosed.
Portfolio gTLD applicant Donuts has hired Michele Jourdan, who until last week was head of new gTLD communications at ICANN.
She has joined the company as director of sales and marketing, according to her LinkedIn profile.
Applicants and others following the program closely will remember her from the regular update videos published by ICANN.
She worked for ICANN for almost five years, but only in the last year or so started to take a visible front seat role in interactions with community members. I understand she left ICANN a week ago.
Jourdan is not the first ICANN alum Donuts has taken on.
Its CFO is former ICANN CFO Kevin Wilson, and we recently learned that former new gTLD program manager Kurt Pritz has been recruited, non-exclusively, as a consultant.
WellPoint, a major North American health insurance provider, has dropped its application for .anthem, a proposed dot-brand gTLD.
It’s the fifth application to be withdrawn this week and the 64th to be withdrawn overall. The pull-out rate from the original 1,930 applications now stands at roughly 3.3%.
It’s also the second bid to be yanked by WellPoint. It pulled its application for .caremore in December, before even receiving an evaluation prioritization number in The Draw.
Wellpoint, which did not apply for .wellpoint, has no applications remaining in the program.
Anthem is a brand used by WellPoint to provide health insurance, mainly in California.
It’s also the original name of the company, which entered its present incarnation with the merger of WellPoint Health Networks Inc and Anthem Inc in 2004.
The gTLD was to be a straightforward .brand with a Neustar back-end. It was uncontested and had no public comments, objections or Governmental Advisory Committee to stand in its way.
It had a very low priority number, however, and was not due to receive its Initial Evaluation results until the final week of the schedule.
Four new gTLD applications have been withdrawn so far this week, including the first to come from .info operator Afilias.
Afilias has pulled its bid for .mail — the second applicant to do so — due to the number of competitors for the string.
A spokesperson said in an email:
The company felt there were simply too many groups in contention for this domain and we’d rather focus our energy supporting and helping to grow the .POST domain, for which we are the [technical services provider].
There are now five applicants competing for the string, including Google, Amazon and Donuts, but they’re all facing objections from the United States Postal Service and the Universal Postal Union, which runs .post.
Elsewhere this week, Directi has ended its bid for .movie, a contention set with seven other bidders.
The company declined to comment on the reasons for the withdrawal, so we probably can’t entirely rule out some kind of partnership with one or more other applicants.
Today we’ve also seen the withdrawal of applications for .ltd and .inc, both belonging to a Dutch company called C.V. TLDcare. I don’t know much about these guys, other than it used OpenRegistry as its technical partner and that .inc and .ltd were its only two applications.
Interesting fact: not a single “corporate identifier” application (.llp, .corp, .ltd, .inc, .llc) has passed Initial Evaluation yet, but seven applications have been withdrawn.
It’s a controversial category, with many US state attorneys general very unhappy about any of these strings being delegated without safeguards.
The latest four withdrawals bring the total to 63.