On 27 July 2016, Power Auctions LLC, ICANN’s authorized auction service provider, conducted a New Generic Top-Level Domain (gTLD) Program auction to resolve contention for .WEB and .WEBS. Auction serves as the method of last resort for determining which applicant may operate a gTLD when several entities have applied for the same or confusingly similar gTLDs. This method was defined through ICANN’s bottom-up, multistakeholder process.
Eight applicants completed the requirements for participating in the .WEB/.WEBS auction. NU DOT CO LLC (that is suspected to be backed by Verisign) prevailed in the auction for the price of $135 million to operate the .WEB gTLD, and Vistaprint Ltd prevailed with a price of $1 for the .WEBS gTLD.
Verisign is the .com and .net domain name registry.
Donuts and Radix tried to stop the auction from happening because they suspected an ownership change in the NU Dot Co LLC applicant but ICANN and a US court were not convinced.
This price is the highest price paid for a contention set, ahead of .Shop that was auctioned for $41.5 million in January 2016 to GMO Registry, Inc. and .APP that Google won for $25 million in February 2015.
This set was an indirect contention set consisting of both the WEB and WEBS strings. An indirect contention set is when two applications are both in direct contention with a third application, but not with one another.
Eight applicants has completed all necessary prerequisites and participated in the “method of last resort” auction that was on 27 July 2016.
The 8 applicants were:
- NU DOT CO LLC
- Charleston Road Registry INC. (Google)
- Web.com Group, Inc
- DotWeb Inc. (Radix Registry)
- Ruby Glen LLC (Donuts)
- Afilias Domains No. 3 Limited
- Schlund Technologies GmbH
- Vistaprint Limited