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8 Domains, $9.65M: Second Applicant Auction a Success

We at Innovative Auctions were happy to see the successful completion of the second Applicant Auction earlier today. Winners will pay a total of $9,651,000 to resolve contention for eight new generic top-level domains (gTLDs).

The winners for the eight contention sets included in this week’s auction were:

.casa: Minds + Machines, a subsidiary of Top Level Domain Holdings, Inc (LON:TLDH)
.construction: Donuts, Inc
.desi: Desi Networks LLC
.expert: Donuts, Inc
.fishing: Minds + Machines
.guide: Donuts, Inc
.storage: Extra Space Storage (NYSE:EXR)
.?? (.wangzhi): Hu Yi Global

In addition, the following participants received payments for withdrawing one or more applications: Demand Media (NYSE:DMD), Afilias Ltd., Dot Construction LLC, and Red Circle LLC.

As many readers know, ICANN has encouraged applicants in contention for the same top-level domain to resolve contention amongst themselves. Today, with more than a dozen contention sets resolved for a total price of over $18 million, we can confidently say that the Applicant Auction is the most successful, proven method for resolving contention.

Despite being held during the summer vacation season, participation in this auction exceeded that of the first. (The first auction, held in June 2013, resolved contention for 6 top-level domains at a total cost of $9.01 million to winning applicants.) We are glad to see that the success of each Applicant Auction continues to attract applicants toward the private auction model. We look forward to working with many new and returning applicants in future events.

The second Applicant Auction confirmed that we have put the right team and the right contracts in place to meet the needs of a wide variety of participants, ranging from public companies with multiple applications to ventures focused on a single gTLD.

Following the conclusion of the second auction, there are 204 remaining strings with multiple applicants. Several of the participants from both the first and second Applicant Auctions have announced their intention to bring additional contested applications to future auctions.

“We were extremely pleased with the outcome and execution of the auction,” said Ravin Ohri, CEO of Desi Networks “The Applicant Auction was a very simple and smooth process that we’d recommend to any other group seeking to settle contention.”

“Participating in the auction was very straightforward and there was a clear and transparent process,” said Antony Van Couvering, CEO of TLDH. “After our initial concerns about the private auction approach, we are now satisfied that the Applicant Auction process provides the security and accountability we need from a contention settlement process. We were very happy with the outcome of the auction.”

The third Applicant Auction will be held on September 10, and will follow the same format as the previous two auctions. JPMorgan will act as the escrow agent, and Deloitte will serve as the neutral party.

We have worked hard to design an arrangement and legal framework that allows all applicants to participate. As a result, we have adjusted the enrollment schedule to better accommodate bidders’ needs, legal review, and escrow deposits. Interested applicants are encouraged to begin the enrollment process as soon as possible. If you’d like to participate, let us know! We are also open to holding auctions on earlier dates, if applicants require them. Either way, drop us an email at [email protected], and we’d be happy to discuss.

By Sheel Mohnot, Project Director, Applicant Auction

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