Re: Custom Top Level Domain names
Rick, this has been the leading criticism I've heard of the gTLD expansion -- that it's exclusionary and favors deep pockets -- dating back to 2011 when I first started writing about it. It's not baseless, either. It cost $185,000 to apply to own and manage one of these gTLDs. ICANN brought in upwards of $350 million just in application fees during the initial application window.
The less-reported element is the "declining price" feature, which by design favors those willing and able to spend (potentially much) more on the domain names they want. A commonly listed benefit of the expansion is that small businesses, individuals, etc. will have more choice, but this declining-price process means those with deep pockets will have first choice.