FairWinds Partners consulting firm has written a blog post criticizing General Motors’ decision to withdraw three of its five new gTLD applications. GM withdrew 2 new gTLD applications last week and another one the week before. General Motors LLC withdrew it’s applications for the CADILLAC, CHEVROLET as well as the application for the GMC new gTLD string. General Motors still has 2 more new gTLD applications that are still pending for BUICK and CHEVY.
FairWinds doesn’t mention that one of it’s consulting clients American International Group (AIG), Inc. also withdrew a new gTLD application for the string CHARTIS as reflected at the ICANN New gTLD website. While AIG has 2 more new gTLD applications that are still pending for AIG and TRAVELGUARD, it seems that FairWinds doesn’t think it was a good idea. That is if what applies to GM applies to AIG as well.
The applicants that withdraw an application are eligible for a 70% refund of the application fees to ICANN. Each withdrawn application, is entitled to a refund of 70% of the $185,000 application fee that is or $130,000, since these fall “[a]fter posting of applications until posting of Initial Evaluation results,” as described in section 1.5.1 of the Applicant Guidebook.
FairWinds believes that the $55k is only part of the cost involved when withdrawing a new gTLD and getting that $130k now may cost companies a lot more later:
“But at this point in time, when it is clear from the sheer size of the New gTLD Program that new gTLDs will undoubtedly have an impact on the way businesses and consumers use the Internet, but it is not yet clear exactly what that impact will be, it’s worth considering another cost: the opportunity cost of withdrawing.”
If unsure FairWinds suggests that companies could deley launching the new gTLD for up to 3 years of warehousing the TLD with a $75k cost per year:
“Of course, spending $75,000 per year, even a few years down the road, is more expensive than receiving $130,000 up front, right now. But at this point, the new gTLD train has left the station for the foreseeable future. It is possible that ICANN won’t give the public another chance to apply for gTLDs for another five or ten years, or more. If that happens, applicants that chose to withdraw their applications will have no choice but to wait.”
FairWinds finishes the post by saying that withdrawing a new gTLD application is irreversible, and companies should make the decision carefully and taking the time to learn from others and make a more informed decision.