DotGreen, the first public and easily most visible applicant for the new gTLD .green, has withdrawn its application, saying it has become “impossible” to continue.
In a statement sent to DI tonight, founder and CEO Annalisa Roger said:
While DotGreen supported the New gTLD program, we believe we exhausted all options within the framework of the New gTLD applicant guidebook and the multi-stakeholder model for procuring .green management. DotGreen remains locked in contention facing an auction among three registry competitors from the Internet industry. Unfortunately it is impossible for DotGreen to proceed within these circumstances.
Today we withdrew DotGreen Community, Inc.’s application for the .green TLD.
DotGreen was founded in 2007 and had built up a small following of supporting environmental organizations. A charitable organization, the plan was to use the proceeds from the registry to fund worthy projects.
A prominent applicant from well before the ICANN application window opened, it held regular eco-themed events during ICANN meetings and even recruited its CFO/COO, Tim Switzer, from its back-end provider, Neustar.
(Switzer is chair of the New gTLD Applicants Group, NTAG, but is expected to resign as a result of the withdrawal.)
But it’s facing competition for .green from portfolio applicants Demand Media, Afilias, and Top Level Domain Holdings.
“It is tough for a single-string applicant,” Roger said. “An auction, sorry, it’s not the appropriate scenario for the .green TLD for several reasons. It really the undermines the authenticity and the faith that the community has put in us and the multi-stakeholder model.”
There’s no way the company could win at auction against three big portfolio applicants, she said.
Despite the company name, DotGreen Community’s application was not a “Community” application under ICANN rules and the only way out of contention was going to be private settlement or auction.
It also faced the uncertainty of Governmental Advisory Committee advice, which had classified the string as requiring extra safeguards for “consumer protection” purposes, causing indefinite delays.
It seems the final decision was financial — the cost of delays and an auction too much for the start-up to bear. It’s a pity really — there was some genuine enthusiasm for the cause behind this bid.
The .green gTLD will now go to which one of the remaining three applicants stumps up the most cash at auction.
The DotGreen Community has asked ICANN’s Governmental Advisory Committee for backing in the four-way fight for the .green generic top-level domain.
In a letter to the GAC, copied to ICANN’s board and published today, DotGreen does everything but ask outright for the GAC to object to its three competitors’ .green applications.
In it, Annalisa Roger, CEO of the not-for-profit company, makes a passionate case that .green should be operated by a company that has a genuine connection to and affinity with the environmental movement.
She heavily implies that the GAC should object to the other applicants.
Without deliberate decision or intervention, the .green TLD may be won at ICANN Auction to join enmass with a slew of portfolio TLDs, blending into one of the many industry portfolios, a common business model ICANN’s new gTLD program has spawned.
Those like you who are in a position to object, evaluate, or delegate should consider the obvious relationship of .GREEN with the Green Community, and the global Green Movement which represents net social benefits to include all people, their natural and synthetic environments, the economic systems they construct (such as Green Business Models), and conditions for future generations of life who stand to be affected by the choices we make, the policies we implement, and the projects we fund and allow to be born today.
The other .green applicants are Top Level Domain Holdings, Afilias, and a Demand Media subsidiary. Unlike DotGreen, they’re all portfolio gTLD applicants.
Roger says these companies are basically out to sell as many domains as possible and don’t have the same commitment to the environmental movement as DotGreen.
Despite the name and a great deal of support from green organizations, DotGreen did not file a “community” application, so the only way it can avoid auction is by persuading the other applicants to drop their bids, or by having them all eliminated by objections.
Asking the GAC to object is probably the cheapest way to do this.
While the GAC has made its interest in gTLDs with obvious regulatory implications — such as .bank — abundantly clear, I understand conversations have also started about strings with more tangential relationships to public policy, such as .food.
It’s not inconceivable that .green could fall into that category, though I don’t think it’s an easy sell.
Top Level Domain Holdings is involved in a grand total of 92 new generic top-level domain applications, many of them already known to be contested.
Sixty-eight applications are being filed on its own behalf, six have been submitted via joint ventures, and 18 more have been submitted on behalf of Minds + Machines clients.
Here’s the list of its own applications:
.abogado (Spanish for .lawyer), .app, .art, .baby, .beauty, .beer, .blog, .book, .casa (Spanish for .home), .cloud, .cooking, .country, .coupon, .cpa, .cricket, .data, .dds, .deals, .design, .dog, .eco, .fashion, .fishing, .fit, .flowers, .free, .garden, .gay, .green, .guide, .home, .horse, .hotel, .immo, .inc, .latino, .law, .lawyer, .llc, .love, .luxe, .pizza, .property, .realestate, .restaurant, .review, .rodeo, .roma, .sale, .school, .science, .site, .soccer, .spa, .store, .style, .surf, .tech, .video, .vip, .vodka, .website, .wedding, .work, .yoga, .zulu, 网址 (.site in Chinese), 购物 (.shopping in Chinese).
There’s a lot to note in that list.
First, it’s interesting to see that TLDH is hedging its bets on the environmental front, applying for both .eco (which we’ve known about for years) and .green.
This puts it into contention with the longstanding Neustar-backed DotGreen bid, and possibly others we don’t yet know about, which should make for some interesting negotiations.
Also, both of TLDH’s previously announced Indian city gTLDs, .mumbai and .bangaluru, seem to have fallen through, as suspected.
Other contention sets TLDH is now confirmed to be involved in include: .blog, .site, .immo, .hotel, .home, .casa, .love, .law, .cloud, .baby, .art, .gay, .style and .store.
The company said in a statement:
During the next six months, TLDH will focus its efforts on marketing and operations for geographic names such as dot London and dot Bayern where it has the exclusive support of the relevant governing authority, as well as any other gTLDs that TLDH has filed for that are confirmed to be uncontested on the Reveal Date. Discussions with other applicants regarding contested names will be handled on a case-by-case basis.