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Inconsistencies in ICANN New TLD Application Fees

In preparation for Monday’s Joint Applicant Support (JAS) Working Group call, I spent some time reviewing various documents in connection with what are ICANN’s actual costs in reviewing top-level domain name applications. One thing that caught my attention was the following metric in Rod Beckstrom’s most recent CEO Monthly One Page Metric Report. Specifically, that ICANN has processed 18 IDN ccTLD requests at an average cost of just over $7,000 per application. Although ICANN has billed $600K in connection with these 18 requests, it has only collected $132K in fees and already written off at least $50K as uncollectable.

In order to provide some “fact based” contributions to ICANN’s bottom-up consensus driven multi-stakeholder model, I decide to submit the following DIDP to ICANN inquiring about it costs in connection with the IDN ccTLD program. I decided to submit this inquiry as well because it appears that this questions has been posed by others in the ICANN community.

Dear ICANN Staff,

This Document Information Disclosure Policy (DIDP) request is being made regarding information contained in the CEO Monthly One Page Metrics Report dated 15 July 2011. Specifically, the data regarding IDN Fast Track Billing Activity indicates that in connection with the 18 requests that ICANN has processed to date, ICANN has billed out $600K but only collected $132K. Given that there should be no difference between IDN ccTLDs and gTLDs when it comes to the safety security and stability of the Internet and the reliance upon which Internet users place in these TLDs, these CEO metric numbers raise some interesting questions:

  • Can ICANN please provide any documentation regarding its actual costs to process these 18 applications and what where the actual costs (internal and external)?
  • Was the $132K sufficient to process these applications?
  • If the $132K was sufficient to pay for the review of these 18 applications, can ICANN provide any documentation reconciling these reduced evaluation fees versus the proposes $185,000 fee for a “single gTLD” application?
  • If the $132K was not sufficient to process these applications, what funds did ICANN use to process these applications?
  • On page 114 of the October 2010 Board Briefing materials there is a document entitled “IDN ccTLD Financial Overview”, prepared by then ICANN Staffer Tina Dam dated 20 October 2010. This document states that ICANN has already written off as “uncollectable” $50,000 of the $572,000 fees. Can ICANN provide an accounting of the total amount of fees in connection with IDN ccTLDs that have been written off as “uncollectable.”
  • Once an IDN ccTLD application fee has been written off as “uncollectable” does this amount still appear in the IDN fees billed One Page Metrics Report?

For the avoidance of any doubt, please note that nothing in this DIDP request seeks to have ICANN identify those IDN ccTLD applicants that have not paid their fees or have had fees written off as uncollectable.

While ICANN has historically waited until the very last day of the thirty day window to post responses to DIDP requests, I would hope ICANN staff could expedite any portions of this request so that it can provide an important data point to the JAS WG teleconference scheduled for this upcoming Monday.

Best regards,

Michael Palage

By Michael D. Palage, Intellectual Property Attorney and IT Consultant

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Beer. Kevin Murphy  –  Sep 16, 2011 9:16 PM

If your answer comes before Monday, I’ll buy you a beer.

I’ll buy you a beer every day for the rest of your life.

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