Why is ICANN still only budgeting for 500 new TLD applications?

Main ICANN budget still assumes 500 applications.

In January ICANN released its framework for the FY 2013 budget (which begins in July). Its framework for new TLD revenue was based on 500 applications for new top level domains.

ICANN just published its draft budget and now it’s budgeting for…

only 500 applications.

I realize these things have a long lead time, but this is ludicrous. It’s quite clear there will be over 1,000 applications for new top level domains.

Releasing a budget based on less than half of that makes no sense.

To be fair, ICANN has also released variance analysis showing what the numbers would look like with 1,000 and 2,000 applications. But I would think they’d go ahead and put at minimum the 1,000 scenario as the crux of its budget.

And in the magic of ICANN finance, the historical costs of the program increase when you add in more domain applications.

Under the 500 application scenario, the historical costs of the program are $12.5 million. Under the 1000 application scenario the historical costs are $25.0 million, so it appears on paper that the program is still cost-neutral. If there are 2000 applications then the historical costs are $29.9 million.

What’s really going on here is ICANN says the total historical costs are $29.9 million. It has budgeted $25,000 per application in historical cost recovery. So if there are fewer than 1,196 applications then it will just eat some of these historical costs.

Regardless, it’s all funny money because the historical costs component will be transferred back to the “core” of ICANN and placed into its reserve fund.

By the way, if ICANN ends up making excess money from the program due to more applications than expected or lower legal costs, it will ask the community what it should do with the extra money.


  1. John Berryhill says

    “The New gTLD Application Processing budget scenarios for the FY13 Budget Framework and Draft Budget were prepared with the assumption that 500 applications would be received during the application window, consistent with the FY12 Adopted Budget…..Upon availability of the final number of applications received, this draft budget will be updated to reflect such number of applications in the New gTLD Application Processing of ICANN, and will then be submitted for Board approval in Prague.”

  2. John Berryhill says

    I get the impression that they didn’t want to indirectly disclose the number of TLD applications prior to the close of that process.

    Which, of course, was a data point for which the budget was eagerly anticipated by some.

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