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First Private Auction for New Generic Top Level Domains Completed: 6 gTLDs Valued at Over $9 Million

Sheel Mohnot

On behalf of Innovative Auctions, I am very happy to announce that we've successfully completed the first private auction for generic Top Level Domains (gTLDs). Our auction resolved contention for 6 gTLDs: .club, .college, .luxury, .photography, .red, and .vote. Auction winners will pay a total of $9.01 million. All other participants will be paid from these funds in exchange for withdrawing their application.

In ICANN's gTLD Applicant Guidebook, applicants for gTLD strings that are in contention are asked to resolve the contention among themselves. ICANN did not further specify how to do that. Our Applicant Auction, designed by my colleague Peter Cramton, has now become the most successful—and proven— alternative to tedious multilateral negotiations. The first withdrawal as a result of our auction (an application for .vote) has already been announced by ICANN.

All participants—winners and non-winners alike—indicated that they were pleased with the results of the first Applicant Auction. "The auction system was clear, user-friendly, and easy to navigate," said Monica Kirchner, applicant for Luxury partners. "The process worked smoothly, and we're very happy with the outcome."

"The Applicant Auction process is extremely well organized and we were very pleased with the results for us" said Colin Campbell, of .CLUB LLC. "It is a fair and efficient way to resolve contention and support the industry at the same time, with auction funds remaining among the domain contenders."

Top Level Design's CEO Ray King praised the auction's execution. "The applicant auction process was great, the software functioned without a hitch and all of the folks involved were responsive and highly professional.  We look forward to participating in future auctions with Innovative Auctions."

In the last days leading up to the auction, many single-string and multiple-string participants have expressed an interest to participate in private auctions in general and the Applicant Auction in particular. Antony van Couvering's insightful article on CircleID a few days ago lays out the reasons why his company TLDH will participate in private auctions, and Colin Campbell, who announced earlier today that his company was the winner for .club, predicts that "many other parties who stood by the sidelines in this first auction will participate in future Applicant Auctions."

We'll hold additional auctions in the coming months, on a schedule and under terms mutually agreed upon by applicants, to resolve contention for many more of the rougly 200 gTLDs still pending. Please direct questions to info@applicantauction.com.

By Sheel Mohnot, Project Director, Applicant Auction
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