Top Level Design’s creator & CEO, Raymond King, interviews Sheel Mohnot and Lindsay Holden of Applicant Auction regarding their services for being a third-party market facilitator of ICANN’s new gTLDs. Applicant Auction assists applicants with contested TLDs in private auctions for resolving ICANN gTLD string contentions, known as Last Resort Auctions, which companies or individuals many may find themselves involved in when trying to apply for a dot-brand registry under the ICANN New gTLD Applications Process.
Ray King speaks: Hi and welcome to another edition of the Dyn Video Blog done in conjunction with Circle ID and ICANNWiki and today I'm here with two of the directors of the applicant auction, Sheel Mohnot and Lindsay Holden. Now you guys fulfill a unique need within the industry and I am wondering if you couldn't tell us just how your business came about and what you doing for the gTLD process?
Sheel Mohnot speaks: Sure. So we saw that there was a huge need here in that there's seven hundred applications of strings that were in contention for about two hundred spots. And we are an auction provider. So we've done actions in a bunch of different industries, mining, spectrum, and primarily working for government agencies and auctioning again … we have done about thirty billion dollars of auctions over the past twelve years. We saw this as an opportunity to get into a different type auction. One where the participants are the sellers and the buyers. Do you want to talk a little bit about how our process works?
Lindsay Holden speaks: Hello. So the beauty of the applicant action is that on everyone wins, that is what we like to say because the people that are selling the string have … get paid and then also so the people that are buying the string so what happens is, in our auction, the winner pays the second highest price and that money is evenly distributed to the seller's.
Ray King speaks: And how are people liking the results of the applicant auction so far?
Sheel Mohnot speaks: Well, I think we have one of the participants right here. So, Ray, of Top Level Design participate in the auction for .photography, how did it go?
Ray King speaks: I feel that somehow the interview has turned around but, um … yeah, we were in the first group and I think there were six strings in the group and .photography was one of them. We ended up being a seller which actually surprised me because I was pretty confident that we're going to be buyers but it turns out that the guys over at Donuts really wanted it more badly than we did and I think it worked out really well for everybody involved.
Now you guys have done, is it, 18 in total so far?
Sheel Mohnot speaks: Yeah! We have auctioned off 18 strings so far.
Ray King speaks: Okay … got it. And you said that there is about 200 contentions sets so maybe…?
Sheel Mohnot speaks: Yeah … roughly and the their number to think about is ...I think about in the realm of about 30 strings … 25 strings roughly have been settled so far and we have done 18 of them.
Ray King speaks: 0h…really?! That is fantastic! Question … there are some strings that have just two contestants and some that have 10, you know, or a lot … I would assume that the, and I am not sure what the numbers are, but has the nexus of the ones you have so far been mostly head to head or three people?
Sheel Mohnot speaks: Yeah … we've mostly done … we have only done two or three party strings so far.
Ray King speaks: Okay.
Sheel Mohnot speaks: I think we … coming up, we're going to have some four and five party ones.
Ray King speaks: Okay. Excellent! How about some eight or nine party ones?
Sheel Mohnot speaks: We'd love to do it you know and there's some folks that are holding out and waiting to see how things shake out, so I think as we get closer to the Last Resort option for ICANN, we will have bigger sets coming in and participating in private auctions.
Ray King speaks: Got it. So why wouldn't everyone just jump to this obviously great solution?
Sheel Mohnot speaks: I … Lindsay, do you want to take that?
Lindsay Holden speaks: We think that people will in the long run. So as we are seeing the ICANN auctions getting pushed out, we find that the applicant auction is providing a really important service to help these get into use .. …
Ray King speaks: Do you guys want to take a guess as to what percentage of the remaining contention sets will be resolved by applicant auction?
Sheel Mohnot speaks: We certainly hope all them. I mean, if you're smart, you want to get the string resolved soon. If you either get paid out, if you are a seller, like you were, or if you're the winner, you actually pay less in our model than you would in the ICANN model because the sellers are more devised to, the people are devised to bid lower and because their more devised to lose. So assuming that everyone here is really smart, we should have a hundred percent participation in the auction.
Ray King speaks: Well, there are a lot of smart people here and why I certainly hope that's the case. Great! Well, thank you so much for the explanation and I hope that your predictions come true.
Sheel Mohnot speaks: Thank you, Ray.
Ray King speaks: Okay. Thanks guys.