Offering an additional $5,000 refund just draws more attention to ICANN’s top level domain system failure.
ICANN’s offer to refund 100% of applicant fees if new gTLD applicants pull their applications was a dumb move.
First, this offer isn’t a big deal. It’s an offer of $5,000 more (just 3%) than the refund schedule previously in place offered if you withdrew your application before names were revealed.
Second, will this offer actually prompt people to recall their applications? I doubt it.
But the real reason it was a bad idea is that it sends a message that the application “glitch” is a really bad thing. (It is, but this just calls more attention to it.) To the casual news reader, it sounds like this is a screw up of epic proportions if ICANN is offering refunds. It almost sounds like the program has been closed.
Here are a couple headlines about the move:
“ICANN offers refunds to domain name applicants” – Bloomberg
“ICANN offers refunds over gTLD system shutdown” – ZDNet
I suspect some readers will assume the entire program has been canned based on these headlines. (Oh, you mean they’ll click through and read the entire story?)
ICANN has egg on its face. A little bit more won’t destroy it. But I don’t think this was a smart move.