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20 Nov 2018
Forty five what? Forty five abandoned top level domains. On November 7, ICANN received a notice from the Communication Regulatory Authority of the State of Qatar that they are terminating the registration agreement for .DOHA. Two weeks before that, the Zadco company terminated .ZIPPO.
In addition to the $180,000 application fee, applicants had to hire consultants, make arrangements with back end operators, go through the certification process to get their TLD online. I'd say $500,000 is a reasonable estimate of the cost for each TLD. That means 45 abandoned TLDs is over $20 million spent to accomplish nothing.
The list of terminated domains keeps growing, if anything at an increasing rate. There were only 9 terminations in all of 2017, but this year there were three in January, one in February, one in May, four in June, one in July, five in September, two in October, and one so far in November. Terminations come from a wide range of organizations ranging from McDonalds' restaurants to Allstate insurance, to Spiegel publishing, to the Qatar communications ministry, the German post office. and even Bond University in Australia. (What were they thinking?)
While I can't feel very sorry for the big presumably sophisticated organizations that wasted their money, it does make me wonder how much other destroyed value is hiding in new TLDs. The zone files for over 500 active new TLDs contain less than 10 names each, even though each is paying the ICANN fixed fee of $25,000/yr. That's $12.5 million of ICANN's budget from zombie TLDs. No doubt a few of those still have plans to do something, but even so, we're looking at a lot of failure.
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