The first ICANN auctions to settle new top level domain contention sets could take place in the middle of November.
In a new top level domain applicant update webinar yesterday, ICANN VP of gTLD Operations Christine Willett admitted that new TLD auctions won’t start in October as previously planned. The start date has been pushed to the middle of November.
This shouldn’t come as any surprise to applicants, especially given the number of outstanding issues that must be resolved before certain contention sets can go to auction.
Willett said the delay was primarily due to ICANN staff working on other issues, including community priority evaluation. She also noted that there are some outstanding questions about how auctions will take place and that they will engage with the community to resolve them. Community engagement always takes time.
ICANN’s auctions are meant to serve as a last resort method to resolve contention sets when applicants for the same top level domain can’t come to their own agreement. Proceeds of these auctions will be put toward as-yet-unnamed causes.
Some applicants are participating in private auctions as a way to resolve competing applications rather than wait for ICANN’s auctions.