2015-03-03

ICANN New gTLD APP Auction: Did Google Pay Too Much?

Chart of Results of New gTLD ICANN Auctions Through February 28, 2015
Results of New gTLD Last Resort ICANN Auctions Through February 28, 2015 (source: icann.org)



New gTLD: .APP
Winning Applicant: Charleston Road Registry Inc. (Google)
Winning Price: $25,001,000

12 new gTLD (new generic top-level domain) Applicants participated in the .APP Auction:
  1. .APP REGISTRY INC. 
  2. Afilias Domains No. 2 Limited 
  3. Amazon EU S.√† r.l. 
  4. Charleston Road Registry Inc. (Google)
  5. dot App Limited 
  6. DotApp Inc. 
  7. Lone Maple, LLC 
  8. Merchant Law Group LLP 
  9. NU DOT CO LLC 
  10. Top Level Domain Holdings Limited
  11. TRI Ventures, Inc. 
  12. Webera Inc.
Domain Mondo had been waiting months to see what happened to the premium new gTLD .APP--one of only two premium new gTLDs (the other being .WEB), different in so many ways from most of the hundreds of other new gTLD dogs.* The BIG question had been whether the mighty Google would come to the table with its hoard of cash and stay to play instead of folding.

*"What are people saying about new gTLDs? gTLDs like . sucks were designed to get money from trademark holders and people with bad reputations. That's it. Don't gTLD people see that this crap is a waste of time? The only gTLD I have ever seen that actually makes sense is gTLD_Sucks ' I would take bow.wow because most of these gTLDs are *dogs. 98% are going to be sent to the vet and be put to sleep. Facebook didn't spend $185,000 because gTLDs aren't worth the attention. Who wants to type somedomainname. facebook?" (source: Jennifer Wolfe Keynote, NamesCon 2015, emphasis added) 

Because this was an ICANN "last resort" auction (with net proceeds going to ICANN) unlike the "private and secret auctions" also allowed under ICANN rules, we know a lot more. Below is the bidding round information for .APP. Google (Charleston Road Registry) was apparently ready to go as high as $30 million ($US), but under the rules, as a second bid auction, won the the auction for $25,001,000. So did Google overpay as it may seem looking at the chart first above? No, in Domain Mondo's opinion, Google got a bargain! It all starts with "need, want, and desire" and Google had all three plus the cash to burn. Perhaps that's why Amazon and the others folded--they knew Google could outbid anyone else in the auction. And unlike private auctions, there was no incentive for low bidders to try and bid the price up so the "losers" could pocket the net proceeds. This is a real win for Google, for mobile and web app developers and startups, and for ICANN's beleaguered new gTLDs program.

Congratulations Google!

Bidding Round Information from .APP Auction Won by Google's Charlestown Road Registry
Bidding Round Information from .APP Auction Won by Google's Charleston Road Registry (source: icann.org)










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