Your .COM domain name is going to cost over 30% more unless ICANN, the group in charge of the domain name system, listens to the public and changes its mind about price increases. We created a tool to help you submit your viewpoint to ICANN. It takes 30 seconds! Use the tool here.
ICANN sets the price for .COM domains. Verisign is the sole-source supplier of .COM domain names at the wholesale level, giving them an effective monopoly. Verisign charges $7.85 per year to register or renew a .COM domain name each year. Verisign’s costs are estimated at between $2.50 to $2.90 per domain name per year. Everything above that is pure profit.
Verisign already enjoys one of the highest profit margins of any company in the world. A further price increase is not justified. Yet ICANN staff want Verisign to increase prices on .COM registrants by 7% per year from the current $7.85 to $10.26 after four years. This will impose hundreds of millions of dollars of added expense on .COM registrants – simply to benefit Verisign.
ICANN is supposed to act in the public interest and to be responsive to public comment. Here’s your chance! Take 30 seconds to let ICANN know what you think.
You can learn more about the issue in the following articles:
DomainInvesting: ICA: “Oppose price hikes on .Com”
Domain Name Wire: .Com prices are going up after Verisign pays off ICANN
The ICA submitted its comment to ICANN in connection with the Proposed Amendment 3 to the .COM Registry Agreement. ICA voices its concerns as to the effectiveness of ICANN’s Public Comment process in general as well as demonstrates that ICANN allowing Verisign to charge more for .COM domains is not justifiable.
We encourage everyone to read our full comment and to submit their own in opposition of ICANN allowing increases on .COM domains. You can do so here.
Read the full letter here: Letter to Cyrus Namazi – January 15 2020
ICANN’s announcement that it “reached a proposed agreement” with Verisign to amend the .com registry agreement raises serious concerns and questions. The Internet Commerce Association will be closely studying the proposed changes and will deliver its comments to ICANN in due course.
Amongst the preliminary concerns and questions that ICANN’s announcement raises are the following
NTEN is organizing a call this Thursday, December 5th, at 12 PM PST, 3 PM EST. They will be joined by Electronic Frontier Foundation, The National Council of Nonprofits, and Internet Society chapter leaders, as well as Jon Nevett from Public Interest Registry, and Erik Brooks and Nora Abusitta from Ethos Capital. Andrew Sullivan from Internet Society has been invited but has not confirmed participation.
You do not need to register with NTEN to participate. NTEN will post access details by 12/4/19 on this event listing.
Anybody interested in this important and controversial issue us encouraged to attend the call, submit and ask questions of the participants. To submit questions in advance, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
During ICANN’s public comment period on lifting price caps on .org domains, over 3200 people submitted comments, overwhelmingly opposing price cap removals.
ICANN however, seemingly ignoring these comments, has granted PIR the right to raise prices on .org domains.
In response, NameCheap, a well-known domain registrar, has submitted a Request for Reconsideration to ICANN. Yesterday, ICANN’s Ombudsman, Herb Waye, sided with ICANN, equating many of the comments submitted as “spam”, generated through form letters provided by the ICA.
ICA is hugely disappointed in the Ombudsman’s response, which mischaracterizes the nature of the submitted comments. We ask for an apology to the numerous people who sent those comments in and to retract his ill-advised statements.
You can read the full letter we sent to the Ombudsman here.
If you’re inclined to let ICANN know how they can improve their comment process, you have until tomorrow, Friday 13th, to fill out their survey here. Ironically, one of the questions in the survey asks whether you’d “respond more often to Public Comments if the consultation included short and precise questions regarding the subject matter.”
ICA’s recommendation is that while IGOs and INGOs should have effective access to rights protection mechanisms which reasonably meet their unique requirements not to submit to national courts, no new procedure is required because they can use the UDRP.
In a statement released today, PIR, the operator of the .ORG domain name registry, did not rule out the possibility of substantial price hikes on .org domain names if its new proposed contract is approved by ICANN.
In response to the thousands of objections submitted to ICANN by individual registrants, charities, religious groups, community organizations, and some of the largest and most prestigious organizations in America, PIR asked its customers to “rest assured” that it will not raise prices “unreasonably” and claims that it has “no specific plans” to hike prices.
Conspicuously absent however, is any promise to its customers not to raise prices beyond its current 10% price hike cap. Clearly, PIR is keeping all of its options open, and even in the professed absence of “any specific plans”, it is apparent that PIR likely has general plans to raise prices beyond the current 10% price cap with no limit in sight. This is hardly surprising, for if PIR intended to limit price hikes to the generous currently permitted 10% per year, it would have had no need whatsoever to request the removal of all price caps in the new proposed contract, and accordingly PIR’s claim that it is “simply moving to the standard registry agreement” rings hollow. If PIR was truly committed to keeping prices “reasonably low”, it would have simply agreed to keep the current 10% annual cap on price increases.
Indeed, the so-called “standard registry agreement” is only standard for the new gTLD domain names that were bought and paid for by private interests and which therefore have none of the unique characteristics of a legacy TLD that has been home for organizations throughout the world, long before PIR was awarded the exclusive contract by ICANN.
Despite PIR’s claim that it is “constrained by the competitive market”, PIR is in fact the only source of .org domain names. If the over 10 million .org registrants wish to continue using their existing domain names they are forced to pay whatever price PIR charges. If a .org registrant does not pay whatever inflated fee is levied by PIR for the ability to continue using its domain name, the registrant faces the unacceptable prospect of both an expensive and disruptive rebranding and the abandonment of its .org domain name to be taken over by another user with unknown intentions, perhaps even to undermine the mission of the current non-profit registrant. It is the unique and otherwise unconstrained control over the online homes built on .org domain names that makes price caps on .org domains so crucial in protecting the vibrant and vital community of non-profits that relies upon .org domain names.
Despite PIR claims that current registrants will have “the ability to lock in pricing at the then current rate for 10 years”, the actual proposed contract expressly leaves this up to particular registrars to offer such terms, in their discretion. Similarly, under the proposed contract, existing registrants are not entitled to receive notice of pending increases from PIR, but rather PIR only agrees to give notice of hikes in renewal pricing to registrars. Registrants may thereby be left exposed to dramatic price hikes on their existing domain names after their current term expires.
What has apparently been lost in the contract negotiation is the fact that ICANN is supposed to protect registrants and keep prices low, particularly in legacy TLDs where registrants have relied upon existing price constraints.
Legacy TLDs should not be treated like the new gTLDs nor priced like them nor managed like them.
For further reading, see:
“ICA Comment Letter Regarding Proposed Renewal of the .org Registry Agreement” (Submitted to ICANN, April 10, 2019)
“The economics of domain name prices” (Domain Name Wire, April 29, 2019)
“How ICANN uses the .Org registry to fund the Internet Society” (Domain Name Wire, April 24, 2019)
“The Spurious Justifications for Eliminating Price Caps on .org and Other Legacy Domains” (CircleID, April 23, 2019)
Those following the ICA, know we have recently submitted a Comment Letter to ICANN opposing their proposal to eliminate price caps on .org domains. We have now submitted a similar letter opposing the same for .info domains. You’ll find our official comment letter here.
It is three days before Comments close on ICANN’s proposal to eliminate price caps on .ORG domain names, and the community of organizations is making their voices heard! At the time of writing this post, there are over 1,867 Comments – all opposing the elimination of price caps. This is a striking number of Comments given that how rare it is for ICANN to receive so many Comments on a particular issue.
But this issue has gotten registrants upset, and organizations who rely upon .ORG, in particular. Hundreds of community groups, charities, churches, scout troops, university students, programmers, small businesses, individual registrants, and others have all expressed their opposition in no uncertain terms and we have yet to see a single Comment in favor of removing price caps.
We are gratified to see that the National Council of Nonprofits, which represents 25,000 organizational members has itself taken a strong stand against ICANN’s proposal (See: https://mm.icann.org/pipermail/comments-org-renewal-18mar19/2019q2/000918.html).
We encourage everyone to read the comments and for ICANN to take these comments extremely seriously.
The .ORG registry is for organizations. And Organizations clearly don’t want to see unlimited price hikes. So, who is in favour of eliminating price caps on .ORG domain names, except the ostensible recipient of potentially higher fees, i.e. PIR, the registry operator itself?
ICANN went off in the wrong direction here, but it is not too late to align itself with registrants instead of its contracted registry operators. As the U.S. Department of Justice stated, ICANN’s mandate is “to manage TLDs in a manner that safeguards the interests of registrants in obtaining high quality domains at the lowest possible prices” and “ICANN is obligated to manage gTLDs in the interests of registrants “. ICANN, don’t forget that your legitimacy comes from serving the public interest, not in the interest of your contracted parties.
It is not too late to make your important voice heard. You can use the user-friendly Comment Form which the ICA created for this purpose, here:https://www.internetcommerce.