What should happen to the extra $85,000?
When you write that check for $185,000 for your new top level domain application, $85,000 of it is going to rather interesting uses.
$60,000 of it will go to a reserve fund for “risk costs”. In other words, lawsuits.
$25,000 of it goes to cover historical costs of the new gTLD program. In other words, money that has already been spent.
This brings up some interesting questions.
First, what happens if the risk costs don’t end up being so much? ICANN says that any “profits” from the program will be put to charitable causes selected by the community. But should they instead by returned to the applicants?
And what if the risk costs go to cover particularly contentious applications? Perhaps people who submit easy applications should get a cut back.
(Lord help us if the actual risk costs end up being more than $60k per application.)
Second, that $25,000 in historical costs assumes 500 applications. (That’s in the FY2013 budget framework released today.)
With many experts predicting 1,000 or more applications, that means that the historical costs per application should actually be $12,500.
What should be done with this money? Should it be handed to causes as decided by the ICANN community? Or back to the applicants? (Which is a cause in itself.)
Here’s my proposal: take the millions of excess dollars that will (hopefully) be available and invest in Super Bowl ads about the new TLD world.
It worked for GoDaddy.