ICANN Offers Full Refund to gTLD Applicants
In today’s press release ICANN is offering all applicants a full refund for withdrawing a gTLD application. The current Applicant Guidebook provides a refund schedule in Section 1.5.1 starting with 80% or USD $ 148,000. The refund based on yesterday’s board resolution covers the full USD $185,000 including the USD $5,000 TAS application fee which is part of ICANN’s gTLD Evaluation Fee. All applicants still have time to decide. Withdrawal is possible as long as the application has not been made public by ICANN on Reveal Day. The date for the Reveal Day still has to be announced by ICANN.
It appears that ICANN simply provides an option to avoid further criticism of the TAS delay. It will be interesting to observe how many of the 2,091 fully paid applications will indeed be withdrawn. The number is expected to be low and therefore unlikely affect the number of batches at 500 applications each. To postpone an application is risky for at least two reasons:
1. String preclusion.
2. The next application round will likely be in the very distant future.
An applicant fearing his application will go to auction - with 2000 application this is not unlikely event - still has another option: He may always try to withdraw his application for a premium payable by a competitor. Whatever the decision is, it's a smart move by ICANN.