Verisign, the organization that controls the .com TLD, indicated in a quarterly earnings call that “discussions with ICANN are nearly complete” on initiating price increases for yearly registration fees of .com domain names, as noted by DNW.
Last year, the US Department of Commerce updated its agreement with Verisign, allowing for increases up to 7% per year, in four of the next six years, contingent on ICANN’s consent to the increases. Presently, registration fees are capped at $7.85 (though individual registrars can charge fees beyond that). The increase would bring fees up to $10.29.
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ICANN’s approval—which results in a new contract between the nonprofit charged with managing the DNS root zone—requires a public comment period, though this was ignored outright earlier this year when price increases were approved for .org and .info TLDs.
During that comment period, 3,315 comments were submitted, of which a grand total of six supported raising price caps. Following the comment period, Review Signal, which called the situation “a case study in regulatory capture,” and concludes that “there appears to be very little stopping ICANN from simply pushing through these contracts despite overwhelming evidence that the average internet user isn’t in favor of these changes.”
In contrast to the non-profit status of .org operator Public Interest Registry, Verisign is a for-profit enterprise which (among other activities) manages the .com and .net TLDs. For Q3 2019, 1.27 million more .com and .net domains were added, bringing the total to 157.4 million. Operating income for the quarter was $205.6 million—hardly the picture of a cash-strapped organization needing rate increases to survive.
For more, check out “Registrations for .inc domain names are open, but is it worth it to get one?” and “Blockchain-based Unstoppable Domains is a rehash of a failed idea” at TechRepublic.