202102.25

Has ICANN been invited to Donuts hotel?

Donuts, one of the world’s largest registries with nearly 260 top-level domains (TLD) under management and a candidate for the .hotel, announced on December 29 the takeover of Afilias for an amount that has not been disclosed. Afilias is the registry for .info and other new generic TLD like .green and a candidate for .hotel.

Following this takeover, a new storm has stirred the domain name world over alleged collusion between ICANN and Donuts. It should be remembered that Akram Atallah, former chief operating officer of ICANN, became the CEO of Donuts, that Chris Disspain, former vice-president of ICANN, just joined this company and, finally, that Fahi Chehadé, former president of ICANN, holds the chairmanship of Ethos Capital, which controls part of the capital of Donuts. These are the reasons why ICANN is accused of collusion by one of the candidate registries in the .hotel race. Indeed, as reported by Domain Incite (Domainincite.com, 2021-02-17), Domain Venture Partner accuses ICANN of knowingly ignoring its transparency obligations during its validation of the acquisition of Afilias by Donuts. On December 17, 2020, ICANN approved this acquisition at a special meeting. However, this meeting’s minutes have not been released, which is claimed by Domain Venture Partner. The stakes are high since, following the takeover of Afilias, Donuts now has two applications for the lucrative .hotel extension, a new gTLD that has not yet been delegated, while Domain Venture Partner is also a candidate for this TLD.

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