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Pile up! GM cancels two more new gTLD bids

Kevin Murphy, February 19, 2013, Domain Policy

Is General Motors bowing out of ICANN’s new gTLD program completely? It’s certainly looking that way, following the withdrawal of two more of its five original applications.

ICANN updated its site yesterday to reflect that GM has yanked its bids for .chevrolet and .cadillac, two of its proposed automotive dot-brands.

It comes just a few days after its .gmc application was pulled, and suggests that its remaining applications — for .buick and .chevy — may also be withdrawn in the near future.

The total number of gTLD applications withdrawn is now up to 17, a dozen of which are dot-brands, from an original list of 1,930.

We may be seeing more in the near future. Applications withdrawn before ICANN publishes Initial Evaluation results — expected to start March 23 — qualify for a refund of 70%, or $130,000. After that, the refund halves.

The final number of withdrawn applications will be telling, and likely to inform future new gTLD application rounds.

If it turns out a large number of companies applied for dot-brands purely defensively (I wouldn’t consider 12 to 17 withdrawals a large number) then ICANN may have to rethink how the program is structured.