ICANN new generic Top Level Domains logo

ICANN Wants Your Input On How To Spend $59 Million In Proceeds From New gTLD Auctions [updated]

ICANN new generic Top Level Domains logoICANN have put out for public comment a discussion paper on how it should spend the money, estimated to be around $58.8 million so far, from ICANN-conducted auctions for contested new generic Top-Level Domain (gTLD) strings.

The paper calls for broad, open and inclusive public comment and encourages participation from all sectors, regions and levels (or no level) of engagement with the ICANN community.

Since the launch of the new gTLD Programme, the paper notes numerous suggestions have been made, such as during the ICANN public forum sessions at ICANN meetings, on how new gTLD auction proceeds should be spent including; suggestions that the funds should be donated to charitable organisations, support for applicants in future rounds, programs to promote new gTLDs and consumer protection, the creation of an ICANN trust, to returning the money to the applicants from the current round.

However as the request for comments notes, it was not until March 2015 that the Generic Names Supporting Organization (GNSO) started discussing a possible process for facilitating the conversation around new gTLD auction proceeds during ICANN52 such as a Cross-Community Working Group (CCSG). The discussion paper aims to capture the information and input on new gTLD Auction Proceeds to date as well as outlining potential questions and issues to be addressed in the subsequent phases of the process, such as outreach, participation and ensuring a focus on framework development, to determine next steps.

Broad, open and inclusive public comment input is sought and participation from all sectors, regions and levels (or no level) of engagement with the ICANN community is encouraged.

Writing in The Register, Kieren McCarthy notes that ICANN is only discussing how to spend the money made from the auctions and not the more than “$150m in ‘excess funds’ that ICANN made from charging just under 2,000 applicants a non-returnable fee of $185,000 per application.”

The paper also has around 20 suggestions of how to spend the proceeds. Only one of which doesn’t have the proposer of the suggestion listed, writes McCarthy. And that suggestion is the not-so-popular NetMundial Initiative to “promote internet development globally by placing money in a trust (possibly overseen by NetMundial Initiative) for internet development efforts.” NetMundial is the brainchild of ICANN CEO Fadi Chehade.

[update] According to a report in Domain Incite, the NetMundial idea has come from from Danny Aerts of Swedish ccTLD manager IIS.