It’s still going to be a long time before .web domain names are available to register.
Following a lengthy ICANN process and failed lawsuit filed by Donuts, Afilias has filed a complaint about .Web under ICANN’s Independent Review Process.
Here’s the backstory:
Nu Dot Co, a business founded by .Co’s founders, applied for the .web top level domain. At some point after applying, Verisign (NASDAQ: VRSN) decided it wanted to own .web and worked out a deal with Nu Dot Co in which Nu Dot Co would bid in the auction and Verisign would then buy the top level domain from it.
Nu Dot Co won the auction for $135 million, which was the amount of the second highest bid placed by Afilias.
Donuts subsequently sued, upset that Nu Dot Co pushed for an ICANN auction-of-last-resort in which the losers didn’t get to split the proceeds. Donuts lost its battle.
After Donuts exhausted its options, Afilias picked up the baton and filed for cooperative engagement with ICANN. Now it has escalated to the Independent Review Process.
In its filing, Afilias wrote:
…by failing to implement faithfully the New gTLD Program Rules, ICANN is enabling VeriSign to acquire the .WEB gTLD, the next closest competitor to VeriSign’s monopoly, and in so doing has eviscerated one of the central pillars of the New gTLD Program: to introduce and promote competition in the Internet namespace in order to break VeriSign’s monopoly.
It’s worth noting that neither Donuts nor Afilias filed complaints over an auction for .blog that had similar circumstances. The only differences were that it was a private auction and Automattic (WordPress) backed the winner.