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The Accelerating Pace of Contention Resolution

Contention resolution 750x425 09oct14

As we prepare for the ICANN 51 meeting, I thought it would be a good idea to address a couple of key points regarding contention set resolution and ICANN-facilitated auctions. Although the ICANN-facilitated auctions have received a fair amount of attention in recent weeks, the vast majority of contention sets are being resolved amongst the applicants, rather than through ICANN-facilitated auctions. Proceeds from the auctions are being segregated until an appropriate use of the funds has been determined by the Board with input from the community.

For those who may not be immersed in the New gTLD Program, we define a contention set as a group of two or more applications for the same or confusingly similar strings. A total of 233 contention sets were identified across all applications.

Since the New gTLD "reveal day" in June 2012, roughly 50 percent of the strings in contention have been resolved. Only eight of the sets have resolved by way of an ICANN contention resolution process; four sets were resolved through the program process of Community Priority Evaluation (CPE) and four sets via an ICANN-facilitated auction. It's important to remember that the auctions are intended to be a method of last resort to resolve contention, and ICANN expected a very small number of auctions to actually come to fruition. ICANN continues to encourage applicants to resolve contention among themselves, and allows for self-resolution up to seven days prior to an auction.

An interesting effect of scheduling and holding auctions has been the increase in the pace of self-resolution among contention sets. Since the first auction in June 2014, over 40 contention sets have self-resolved in the last four months, compared to about 70 sets over the first 24 months of the program. With auctions scheduled [PDF, 249 KB] on a monthly basis, we expect this trend to continue.

Finally, I want to review how ICANN will handle the proceeds generated by the auctions. While the number of auctions held thus far has been small, and the number of auctions we anticipate will be conducted in the future is also relatively small, the total value of the proceeds from the auctions may be considerable. The most recent auction for three strings generated over $14 million in gross proceeds. I want to reiterate that the proceeds from Auctions are being segregated until the Board, through consultation with the community, determines a plan for the appropriate use of the funds. To provide further transparency, we have created a new financial summary page on the New gTLD Program microsite. This page details the proceeds, as well as the costs of Auction operations, which are to be paid from the proceeds. The financial summary will be updated on a monthly basis as the costs and proceeds are realized. More detail about the costs of auction operations can be found in the summary of the Statement of Work [PDF, 112 KB] with the auctions provider, Power Auctions LLC.

If you have any questions about contention resolution, please email our Customer Service department at, or if you're joining us in Los Angeles for ICANN 51, come by to see us at the GDD booth. We look forward to hearing from and/or meeting you!


    Domain Name System
    Internationalized Domain Name ,IDN,"IDNs are domain names that include characters used in the local representation of languages that are not written with the twenty-six letters of the basic Latin alphabet ""a-z"". An IDN can contain Latin letters with diacritical marks, as required by many European languages, or may consist of characters from non-Latin scripts such as Arabic or Chinese. Many languages also use other types of digits than the European ""0-9"". The basic Latin alphabet together with the European-Arabic digits are, for the purpose of domain names, termed ""ASCII characters"" (ASCII = American Standard Code for Information Interchange). These are also included in the broader range of ""Unicode characters"" that provides the basis for IDNs. The ""hostname rule"" requires that all domain names of the type under consideration here are stored in the DNS using only the ASCII characters listed above, with the one further addition of the hyphen ""-"". The Unicode form of an IDN therefore requires special encoding before it is entered into the DNS. The following terminology is used when distinguishing between these forms: A domain name consists of a series of ""labels"" (separated by ""dots""). The ASCII form of an IDN label is termed an ""A-label"". All operations defined in the DNS protocol use A-labels exclusively. The Unicode form, which a user expects to be displayed, is termed a ""U-label"". The difference may be illustrated with the Hindi word for ""test"" — परीका — appearing here as a U-label would (in the Devanagari script). A special form of ""ASCII compatible encoding"" (abbreviated ACE) is applied to this to produce the corresponding A-label: xn--11b5bs1di. A domain name that only includes ASCII letters, digits, and hyphens is termed an ""LDH label"". Although the definitions of A-labels and LDH-labels overlap, a name consisting exclusively of LDH labels, such as"""" is not an IDN."