Purpose: This is a discussion paper [PDF, 455 KB] on the proceeds from ICANN-conducted auctions for contested new generic Top-Level Domain (gTLD) strings. This 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.
Current Status: This paper aims to capture the information and input on this topic to date as well as outlining potential questions and issues to be addressed in the subsequent phases of the process to determine next steps in relation to new gTLD Auction Proceeds.
Next Steps: This discussion paper is published for public comment in order to allow for additional input before this paper is submitted to the drafting team, which is expected to be tasked with developing a proposed charter for a Cross-Community Working Group for consideration, unless another approach is suggested as part of the public comment period and which is then deemed preferable.
Section I: Description and Explanation
Since the launch of the new gTLD Program, 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 organizations, 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, 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 [PDF, 455 KB] 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.
Section II: Background
The new gTLD Program established auctions as a mechanism of last resort to resolve string contention. Most string contentions (approximately 90% of sets scheduled for auction) have been resolved through other means before reaching an auction conducted by ICANN's authorized auction service provider, Power Auctions LLC. It was recognized from the outset that significant funds could accrue as a result of several auctions. As such, these auction proceeds have been reserved and earmarked until the Board authorizes a plan for the appropriate use of the funds through dialogue with the community. Board, staff, and community are expected to be working together in designing and participating in the next steps addressing the use of new gTLD auction proceeds. 13 contention sets have been resolved via ICANN Auction since June 2014. The total net proceeds to date are $58.8 million USD. Details of the proceeds can be found at http://newgtlds.icann.org/en/applicants/auctions/proceeds.