VeriSign and the Department of Commerce (DOC) announced this morning that the Agreement allowing VeriSign to remain in place as the .Com registry operator had been approved with one major alteration -- .Com wholesale prices will be frozen at $7.85 for the six-year length of the Agreement absent extraordinary circumstances.
In the past two years VeriSign has bestowed “special dividends” on its shareholders totaling nearly $1 billion, still has a cash pile exceeding $1.4 billion, and has so little need for all that cash that it is planning to spend more than half of it on stock buybacks. Meanwhile, under the .Com registry operations renewal Agreement already okayed by ICANN, it stands to reap more than $1.2 billion in above-market rate excess profits over the next six years. Nice monopoly work if you can get it.
Straw man >n. a person compared to a straw image; a sham.
- · a sham argument set up to be defeated.
--- The New Oxford American Dictionary
Lives were tragically lost in Hurricane Sandy, with many additional victims sustaining acute physical injuries. Power remains out in many storm-affected areas as temperatures skew colder. Thousands of homes have been destroyed or badly damaged, and businesses have been shuttered and laid off workers, as public officials scramble to find adequate alternative shelter for the homeless and coordinate relief efforts. The rebuilding effort will take months, and in some cases years.
ICANN’s Non-Commercial Stakeholders Group (NCSG) issued a November 1st statement taking strong issue with the substance of the 8-point proposals for modifications of the required rights protection mechanisms (RPMs) for new gTLDs being advocated by ICANN’s Business and Intellectual Property Constituencies (BC/IPC), as well as with the process by which they have been advanced and may be considered.
VeriSign issued an extensive press statement today, with the probable intent of calming the markets -- given that its stock had dropped from about $46 to $36 in the last week, since its CEO advised analysts that US.. Government (USG) review of the .Com registry operations renewal agreement’s pricing provisions might delay its approval past the November 30th expiration date of the current contract. The share price did in fact recover somewhat today.
Tomorrow and Friday, November 1st and 2nd, ICANN CEO Fadi Chehade – along with some other senior ICANN staff, we believe -- will be meeting in Brussels with a variety of ICANN-affiliated parties to primarily discuss matters relating to implementation of the Trademark Clearinghouse, one of the two required rights protection mechanisms (RPMs) that must be operationally in place before any new gTLDs can launch (the other mandatory RPM being Uniform Rapid Suspension ([URS]).
ICANN’s most recently formed interest sector, the New TLD Applicants Group (NTAG), along with the longstanding Registrar’s Stakeholders Group (RrSG), have both issued statements taking strong issue with the appropriateness of considering proposals for enhanced and additional rights protection mechanisms (RPMs) at new gTLDs as well as their substance.
VeriSign’s future ability to increase pricing for .Com domains has suddenly become uncertain after the company announced on October 25th that the renewal registry operations contract that has already been approved by ICANN’s Board of Directors is undergoing extended review by the U.S. Departments of Commerce and Justice.
VeriSign CEO Jim Bizdos told analysts:
Rather than being considered for implementation at the .com and .net registries through the front door of UDRP reform, Uniform Rapid Suspension (URS) could arrive at these registries in advance of that reform through the backdoor of ending registry-registrar separation.