By Doug Isenberg Nearly one month after ICANN announced that three of the new gTLD applications had been withdrawn (and on the eve of a webinar on the "Application Evaluation Progress"), ICANN's online database finally has been updated -- to show that four applications have been withdrawn.
Interestingly, the first three of these listed above were all applied for by the same applicant, Charleston Road Registry Inc., a subsidiary of Google Inc., which applied for 101 new gTLDs.
ICANN's database does not offer any information about why the applications were withdrawn (nor, presumably, would an applicant need to given ICANN a reason). But here's a little background on each of the withdrawn domains:
- .and: Intended to be operated as a closed registry with Google as the sole registrar and registrant, the .and gTLD was supposed to "provide Google with direct association to the term, 'and,' which is an abbreviation of 'android,' and meant to refer to the Android platform and operating system." One comment had been filed against this application, stating that it should be denied because the string "represents the Principality of Andorra." Google still has an application pending for .android.
- .are: Curiously, Charleston Road Registry noted that the .are gTLD would "provide the marketplace with direct association to the term, 'are,' which Merriam-Webster defines as the 'present plural of be'" and that "Charleston Road Registry expects registrants will register second-level domain names that are nouns, such as 'Cornellians.are' or 'dogs.are.'" A comment had been filed against this application, stating that the string should be denied because it "represents the United Arab Emirates."
- .est: The .est gTLD was intended to draw upon "a common suffix utilized to describe the superlative of an adjective," with registrants choosing domain names "such as fast.est or cool.est." A comment had been filed against this application, stating that the string should be denied because it "represents the Republic of Estonia."
- .ksb: The applicant for .ksb, KSB Aktiengesellschaft of Frankenthal, Germany, described itself as "one of the world’s leading suppliers of pumps, valves and related liquid transportation systems" and said the gTLD would "provide a comprehensive communications platform, serving its broad-ranging network of subsidiaries, production facilities, service teams and regional offices." No comments were filed against this application.
For each withdrawn application, the applicant apparently is entitled to a refund of 70% of the $185,000 application fee, since these fall "[a]fter posting of applications until posting of Initial Evaluation results," as described in section 1.5.1 of the Applicant Guidebook.
While the updated database is welcome news, a number of questions remain, including:
- Why did ICANN wait almost one month to update the database after it announced the withdrawals?
- Why does the database show four withdrawn applications when ICANN has since said that six applications have been withdrawn?
- How quickly will the database be updated in the future?
These questions are especially important as the public considers whether to file comments or formal objections on applications.