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On 27 July 2016, Power Auctions LLC, ICANN's authorized auction service provider, conducted a New Generic Top-Level Domain (gTLD) Program auction to resolve contention for .WEB and .WEBS. Auction serves as the method of last resort for determining which applicant may operate a gTLD when several entities have applied for the same or confusingly similar gTLDs. This method was defined through ICANN's bottom-up, multistakeholder process.
Eight applicants completed the requirements for participating in the .WEB/.WEBS auction. NU DOT CO LLC prevailed in the auction for the price of $135 million to operate the .WEB gTLD, and Vistaprint Ltd prevailed with a price of $1 for the .WEBS gTLD.
The proceeds from New gTLD Program auctions, which will total more than $230 million, are being reserved. The multistakeholder community will develop proposals for how these proceeds could be distributed. A community-based drafting team is currently working on a charter for a Cross-Community Working Group that will create recommendations for Board consideration. Learn more about this work.
"New gTLD Program auctions are the community-established, last resort method to help determine which applicant will have the opportunity to operate a particular new generic top-level domain, when multiple entities vied for the same or confusingly similar domains." said Akram Atallah, president of ICANN's Global Domains Division. "We look forward to seeing the community's recommendations for the use of these proceeds."
Auctions and the New gTLD Applicant Guidebook
The Internet community spent nearly three years developing a playbook for rolling out new gTLDs under the New gTLD Program, known as the New gTLD Applicant Guidebook. The guidebook outlines measures for addressing a variety of circumstances that could occur throughout the gTLD application and evaluation processes, including instances where multiple applicants applied for the same or confusingly similar new gTLDs. Only one entity can operate a given new gTLD, so contention must be resolved. Applicants can resolve contention among themselves, and ICANN encourages them to do so. However, this isn't always possible. The ICANN stakeholder community helped develop methods for resolving contention, and it decided that auction should serve as the method of last resort. ICANN is responsible for implementing auctions in accordance with the rules defined in the New gTLD Applicant Guidebook.
There are two different types of contention sets: direct and indirect. Direct contention occurs when multiple applicants are vying for the same or confusingly similar gTLDs. Indirect contention exists when two or more applications are in direct contention with a third application, but not with one another. .WEB/.WEBS was an indirect contention set consisting of one application for .WEBS and seven applications for .WEB. In this case, the application for .WEBS prevailed along with one application for .WEB. For a more detailed description of auction and indirect contention, see Module 4 of New gTLD Program Applicant Guidebook.
- Contention Set Status: 218 of 234 contention sets are now resolved. The majority have self-resolved, but 16 sets resolved via ICANN auction.
- Auction Results: Reports on this page of the New gTLD Microsite provide additional information on each auction outcome.
- Auction Proceeds and Costs: A detailed summary of the proceeds and costs of each auction through July 2016. This information will be updated within seven days of each auction.
- Auction Schedule [PDF, 263 KB]: Updated as of 28 July 2016.
- General New gTLD Program Auctions information.
ICANN's mission is to help ensure a stable, secure and unified global Internet. To reach another person on the Internet, you have to type an address into your computer - a name or a number. That address has to be unique so computers know where to find each other. ICANN helps coordinate and support these unique identifiers across the world. ICANN was formed in 1998 as a not-for-profit public-benefit corporation and a community with participants from all over the world. ICANN and its community help keep the Internet secure, stable and interoperable. It also promotes competition and develops policy for the top-level of the Internet's naming system and facilitates the use of other unique Internet identifiers. For more information please visit: www.icann.org.