Many of us long suspected that some portfolio applicants only applied for certain names, which they knew would be contention set heavy, because they expected other applicants, especially the single application folks, to be so desperate they would buy them out instead of facing an unpredictable auction.
We expected it, but had no way to know whether we were right in our expectations. We might just have been suspicious types.
With the advent of the Private Auction, an applicant can enrich his investors with every Private Auction lost. A single applicant, can perhaps make a small profit from the loss of their single application, though they lose much more, they lose an opportunity. A portfolio manager can, if they play the game judiciously, make that profit many times over thus growing an ever larger war chest. Who knows, they might even be able to meet the first profit requirements of their investors’ business plans long before they register a single domain name.
Of course this is just conjecture. But if ICANN has taught me one thing, it is that if there is money to be made by playing the system, it will be played and made.
It is just so clever as a way to arrange a buy-out / pay-off mechanism.
I wish it was only the game. I appreciate seeing people make a reasonable amount of money, it means they might be able to hire me for some task or other some day. But in this case, the auction money that will be enriching the game players will come at the expenses of a potential opportunity ICANN has for distributing the monies to capacity building in developing economies. While the ICANN Board has not yet released plans for auction monies, we do know these finds will be held separately and that there will be a community wide discussion on how to best use those monies. Many of us from the ICANN community, and many from the world outside, are hoping that ICANN, the global public interest ICANN - not the profit generation ICANN, will use the windfall for the benefit of those who were unable, for capacity or other reasons, to compete in this round of gTLD availability.
With Private Auctions, the opportunity to help the world with the possible auction windfall disappears, instead, into the pockets of those who had the resources to apply for a portfolio of names in the first place. Those with capacity, get more, and those with none, get none.
Really, it is a pity. Clever, but sad.