In a late-breaking announcement today, Verisign and ICANN agreed to settle a longstanding lawsuit that originated with Verisign’s introduction of the SiteFinder service in 2003. This service basically set up a parking page on all domains that weren’t registered. Revenue from clicks on these parking pages went to Verisign.
The settlement requires Verisign to get approval before introducing services like SiteFinder. When asked if Verisign would try to reintroduce SiteFinder a Verisign spokesperson claimed he didn’t know because the market has changed over the past two years and he’s not sure if there’s a need for the service.
Yeah, right. The parking industry has taken off over the past couple years. Verisign could make a ton of money off this service. The reason for the spokesperson’s comments is he doesn’t want to send the internet world into counter-attack…yet.
As part of the deal Verisign will be able to extend its .com registry contract through 2012. The current contract expires in 2007. I imagine this will set off a wave of complaints that the extension should be subject to competitive bidding. Verisign will also make a payment of at least $1.25M to ICANN in the settlement. Verisign says it will pass a $.37 fee onto the registrars to recover this cost. In order to do this they would have to change its $6.00 fee in the new contract.
Before the settlement is passed it will be sent to the internet community for feedback. Feedback will be LOUD. It also needs to be approved by the US Commerce Department.