An auction for the .shop new gTLD this week ended up with GMO Registry outlaying a massive $41,501,000 to beat another six applicants including Google, Amazon and the Chinese e-commerce company Beijing Jingdong.
Paying such a massive amount means GMO is going to have to sell a lot of domain names. It’s clearly not going to recoup costs, let alone make a profit, within a few years. So it’s going to be interesting to follow developments.
The winning price also beats by over $15 million the amount paid for the second highest price paid – that of .app for $25,001,000 that Google was the successful bidder for. To date there have been 12 new gTLD strings that have been auctioned off that have sold for more than $1 million. The others are .tech ($6,750,000), .realty ($5,588,888), .salon ($5,100,575), .buy ($4,588,888), .mls ($3,359,000), .baby ($3,088,888), .vip ($3,000,888), .hotels/hoteis ($2,200,000) and .ping ($1,501,000).
And in total, there have been 15 gTLD strings sold through auction. An auction occurs where there is more than one applicant and after evaluation the applicants have not been able to resolve who should operate the gTLD. And ICANN facilitates these auctions as a last resort for resolving string contention sets. There have been numerous others resolved privately however the terms of settlement are rarely made public.
These auctions have garnered ICANN a massive $64,089,127 which, after costs of $3,201,545 means there is $60,887,582 in a kitty that they have yet to decide what to do with. The ICANN Board at some stage will determine a plan for the appropriate use of the funds through consultation with the community.
For .shop, GMO will be aiming to make it “a trusted namespace that delivers relevant and reliable content.” Registrants must be businesses that have commercial activities and those registering their name must have a link to the domain through a product, company name or slogan, for example.
The registry will be undertaking “random checks … to ensure compliance with registrant eligibility, name selection, and content and use regulations.” There will also be “policy advisory and oversight committees, which will provide ongoing input into .shop policy and formulate recommendations with respect to the positioning, marketing and operation of the TLD.”