ICANN announced earlier today that it is seeking expressions of interest from auction design experts (see Announcement).
ICANN has identified several areas where auctions might be an appropriate tool, such as the efficient disposition of data from terminated registrars and registries, the allocation of single-character second-level domain names, and perhaps, resolution of contention between competing commercial applicants for identical strings in the application process for new generic Top Level Domains.
A number of commenters and academics have recommended auctions as the preferred method of objectively allocating scarce resources such as popular second-level domain names or gTLD strings. Also, ICANN received substantial public comment in the discussion on allocation of single-character second-level names that the names should be allocated through an auction model.
This does not necessarily mean that ICANN has decided to formally proceed with auctions or that auctions will occur any time soon. At this point, ICANN is seeking expertise to further work in this area. However, ICANN is hoping to select a qualified entity or entities to assist with auctions in 2008.
Expressions of interest should be sent to my email at Patrick.jones at icann.org by 23:59 UTC on 18 February 2008.