ICANN Gets $350m, Offers Refund Over gTLDs


ICANN’s new dot-name domain system is still down due to security, but it is definitely in demand

Internet regulator ICANN has received $350 million in application fees for new top-level domains based on words or trademarks – and will be offering a full refund to any applicant that wishes to withdraw over a security breach during the application process.

New Internet domains are being offered that use words or company names, such as .google, .music, .london or .gay. More than 2000 applications, at $185,000 each, were received before the registration system at the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) was shut down, having been found to have a breach which could have leaked some customer data to other applicants.

As well as the 2091 organisations who have stumped up the money for a completed application, another 214 registered their names and still have the option to make a full application for new generic top level domains (gTLDs) – although the service interruptions means they have not been able to do so.

The TLD Application System (TAS) had to be closed down on the day when applications were due to close, because it was found that partially deleting a file on the system could then allow other users to read data including file names.

ICANN has promised to re-open the system at some point but has given no definite date. The body has been trawling through its logs and will notify all applicants whose data may have been affected by the end of today. Some time after it will announce a schedule to re-open the system for more potential applicants.

The offer of a full refund of the $185,000 fee is not that big a concession, as applicants are already entitled to a partial refund if they withdraw. “We recognise that this represents an increase of only $5000 over the refund that withdrawing applicants would otherwise receive, but we believe it is an important part of fulfilling our commitment to treat applicants fairly,” said an ICANN release.

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