ICANN critics often focus on ICANN’s expenditure. The organisation’s overall budget had been growing for years prior to the new TLD program launch. However with the new TLD launch it mushroomed very quickly, with the organisation collecting $185k per application. With 1930 applications that gave them $357,050,000 – though admittedly there were quite a few applications withdrawn at various stages which would have reduced the overall pot. The key thing, however, is that ICANN’s overall budget is big and how it decides to spend that money will always be subject to quite a bit of scrutiny.
Late last night ICANN published some of the details of their expenditure associated with the ongoing “IANA Transition”. We knew that the spend had gone up and that ICANN’s board had been asked recently to authorise further expenditure. They did:
Resolved (2016.02.03.19), the Board approves a budget envelope of up to US$4.5 million, as an interim measure, to cover the costs of the Project incurred from December 2015 to the end of the ICANN55 in Marrakech (in addition to the budgeted envelope of US$7 million included in the already approved FY16 Operating Plan and Budget) to be funded through a fund release from the Reserve Fund.
In case you don’t do USD to Euro conversions, at today’s rates those numbers become €4.14 million and €6.44 million respectively.
So where is all that money going?
The numbers released last night cover the period from July 2014 up to 31 December 2015. You can read all the details here, but the key figures are shown in this slide:
So up until December 31st of last year they’d spent a total of $18.1 million, with the bulk of that going on “professional fees” ($13.5 million).
There’s a reasonable amount of detail in the various PDFs, including how much each legal firm has been paid.
I suspect that the numbers around this will be raised at various times during the upcoming ICANN meeting in Marrakech.
While many within the ICANN Community are respectful of the overall importance of the IANA transition the expenditure associated with it isn’t without its impact and ultimately ICANN needs to be accountable for how it spends the money it has.