ICANN has announced that it will hold an auction, facilitated by Power Auctions LLC, on Thursday July 27, 2016 to resolve string contention for one new generic top-level domain (gTLD) contention set: dotWeb (.WEB) and dotWebs (.WEBS) as the set is 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 have completed all necessary prerequisites to participate in the “method of last resort” auction.
Within seven days after the completion of the auction, the results, including a results report, will be posted on the Auction Results page of the New gTLD Microsite. In addition, the Auction Proceeds page will be updated within seven days to reflect the proceeds and costs related to the Auction.
Contention sets are groups of applications containing identical or confusingly similar applied for gTLD strings and such sets have to be resolved prior to the execution of a Registry Agreement for an applied-for gTLD string. An ICANN facilitated auction is a last resort for resolving string contention sets, as described in the Applicant Guidebook (AGB) section 4.3.
Auctions are conducted online using a procedure known as an ascending-clock auction, where the auctioneer successively increases the start-of-round and end-of-round prices, on a per auction round basis. Applicants within the contention set must submit bids to indicate their willingness to pay an amount within the defined price range in the auction round. As the price of the auction rounds increase, applicants may successively choose to exit the auction. When a sufficient number of applications have exited the auction process, so that the remaining application(s) are no longer in contention with one another, and all the relevant string(s) can be delegated as gTLDs, the auction will be deemed concluded. At this point, prevailing applicants that remained in the auction will pay the finalized price and proceed toward delegation.
The total amount of funding resulting from auctions is not disclosed until all relevant applications have completed this step while auction proceeds are reserved and earmarked until the uses of funds are determined by the ICANN board through consultation with the community.