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ICANN has published the second phase of its economic study into the new generic top-level domain (gTLD) programme’s competitive effects and is asking for public comment.
ICANN commissioned the study in 2014 and it is being conducted by US-based economic consulting firm Analysis Group.
The new gTLD programme was developed to increase competition and choice in the domain name space.
The study is part of ICANN’s affirmation of commitments, which it signed with the US Department of Commerce in September 2009.
Under the agreement, ICANN committed to conduct a regular review of how the new gTLD programme has affected competition, consumer choice and trust.
The baseline findings were published in September 2015 and the phase one assessment found "the majority of domain name registrations are accounted for by legacy TLDs. However, registration shares across registries, and across registrars, are more dispersed for new gTLDs as compared to legacy TLDs".
Further, phase one also reported that price dispersion is “greater in new gTLDs” than among gTLDs that “existed before” the new gTLD’s programme expansion of the domain name system.
In the latest assessment, phase two, the results were compared to the phase one findings.
The phase two findings showed that mark-ups on retail domains have “generally declined” compared to wholesale prices, and that average and median retail prices for registrations of legacy and new gTLDs have also fallen.
New domain name registrations accounted for 9% (16,570,035) of all gTLD addresses as of March 2016.
This percentage is an increase since November 2014, when new gTLD registrations accounted for “approximately 2%” (3,483,064) of the overall amount.
Addressing legacy gTLDs, the phase two assessment found that the new gTLD programme had “no apparent effect” on them, but the introduction of regional new gTLDs, such as .nyc, is “typically coupled” with a decline in legacy domains and new gTLDs in that region.
The public comment period opened yesterday, October 11, and closes on December 5.
ICANN, new generic top-level domain, gTLD, new gTLD programme, US Department of Commerce, public comment,