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.transformers gTLD bid transforms into pile of burnt cash

Kevin Murphy, February 20, 2013, Domain Registries

Toy-maker Hasbro has withdrawn its application for the .transformers new gTLD.
It was Hasbro’s only application, and it’s the first example of an applicant that paid to participate in ICANN’s new gTLD prioritization draw last December subsequently withdrawing its bid.
One of the longer and more eyebrow-raising applied-for strings, .transformers brings the number of withdrawn applications to 18, most of which were dot-brands. Now, 1,912 bids remain.
The bid had a prioritization number of 131, putting it toward the very top of the queue of non-IDN applications.
If many more applications with high prioritization numbers withdraw, it would raise serious questions about the validity of the argument that participating in the draw indicates a non-defensive bid.
Hasbro’s application suggested that it was filed mainly defensively, it’s “Mission/Purpose” stated as primarily: “To secure and protect the Applicant’s key brand (“TRANSFORMERS”) as a gTLD”.
Maybe it was worried that an electrical parts manufacturer might go for the same string?
It’s the sixth application to be withdrawn in a week, following General Motors’ pulling of its .gmc, .cadillac and .chevrolet bids and Hartford Fire Insurance’s withdrawal of .thehartford.
UPDATE (February 20): ICANN tells me that there are currently only three more new gTLD applications in its withdrawal pipeline.