Do domain name owners care if VeriSign can drastically increase .com prices? Apparently not.
ICANN has released new details about its proposed registry agreement and added a line-by-line comparison to previous registry agreements. These agreements dictate the terms that registries such as VeriSign (NASDAQ: VRSN) must follow as they run top level domains. You can see details of the new information on ICANN’s web site.
As written before on Domain Name Wire along with several other domain news sites, the new agreement includes a ticking time bomb that could lead to drastically higher wholesale prices for .com domain registrations. Essentially the new agreements would not include pricing controls and instead just require registries to list their fees transparently online. This could be applied to existing registry agreements, such as the one VeriSign has to manage .com and .net.
What does this mean for you? When it comes time to renew one of your prized domains, you could see a renewal fee of $1,000, $10,000, or more.
As George Kirikos and others alerted domainers about this problem, I assumed people would take action. After all, all you have to do to comment on the proposed registry agreement is to send a simple email to gtld-transition [at] icann.org.
In the past month, fewer than 20 people have posted a comment (link removed because no longer active) about this issue in the module 5 comments on ICANN’s web site. Frank Schilling took the time out of his day to write a well thought out opposition to the changes. A handful have also posted comments to the main comments section on ICANN.
But not many other people have done so. It’s shocking that so few people have commented, and can lead me to only one conclusion: domain owners don’t care. It amazes me that people spend so much time complaining about 7% annual .com price hikes but won’t spend five minutes to express opposition to potential 7000% price hikes.
Am I wrong? Prove it to me by posting a thoughtful comment on ICANN’s web site today. Again, all you have to do is send an email with your comment to gtld-transition [at] icann.org.
The deadline for commenting has been extended to December 15, 2008.
Not a big deal for me — I’ll renew everything I care about keeping for 10 years before they put this into place. With how much PPC has been falling lately, probably wouldn’t have been renewing the rest anyway.
I think it’s pretty clear by now that ICANN does whatever they want — obviously domainers were against seeing a plethora of vanity extensions, however it’s not like complaining against that did any good.
I wonder how much VeriSign has bribed ICANN for this favor (roll eyes)
Rob Sequin says
Does this apply to renewals? I would expect major corporations to sue over arbitrary renewal pricing.
I can see a .tv type pricing for new hand regs and maybe that’s what this means? If so, I can see why most of us don’t care. We have enough domains already.
Now if this applies to drops, then we could have a messy situation. So, instead of namejet auctions starting at $60 they could start at $600 like TDNAM does AND the renewal fee could be set at $1000 per year.
@ Reece – well, last time this came up public commenting stopped ICANN from doing it.
@ Rob – the problem is it’s ambiguous, so it could apply to renewals. I agree with you, I’m not so concerned about new registrations. But this could be applied to existing registrations. Yes, big companies would sue, but why let it get to that? Why not spend 5 minutes voicing your concern with ICANN? It worked last time (at least temporarily).
I think they’re going to have to be very careful about how they implement this. It’s certainly unjust (in my view) to charge Microsoft in example more for their domain merely because they can afford to pay more.
If it’s just for new regs, it won’t bother me — rarely reg anything.
As for drops, will certainly be interesting if they do implement a .tv-style pricing. I can’t see any real argument being raised as to what they do with drops — sure it’ll lower a lot of domainer’s revenue, however I don’t see why it’s any more fair for Snapnames/Pool/NameJet to profit rather than VeriSign.
domain guy says
first of all i already clicked on the link and left a message. after much aggervation. there was not a simple form like this on the site. second domainers are not going to have their balls hung out to dry by an organization by anyone.first its rick telling us to support cadna and donate.with a world wide financial meltdown domainers are hanging on for dear life. we do not get 3oo an hour fees.domainers are being asked left and right to build an entire industry which we should not have to do.then its google with their non transparency and lowering of ppc. then its google chrome adding words and phrases in the search box that searcher are not even thinking.then its the snowe bill this failed representaive makes up the law as each day goes by.then its tiered pricing for .tv. every day its another pile of shit laid on domainers.this is a simple business ane more and more regulations are being added. its simple move out of the usa and write it off.you do not see schilling complaining living in the caymans.
pure domaining —> developing. 🙂
Michael Berkens says
Frank has already placed comments on the new contract with ICANN
Don M says
My question is, will they impose this extra fee on a domain name you have already paid in 5 or 10 years in advance?
If they are planning huge increases would renewing for 10 years and locking in your price make any sense.
If the extra fee going to be the same on every domain name or more on names that get more traffic?
The fees will go up that is a given how much should be the biggest worry? 10% is fine. 50% is another thing.
I dont understand the language enough to give a reply at this time.
Some make it sound like it would only be for new registrations, some make it sound like it can be for renewals as well.
If they can raise renewal fees on companies who have created a brand online based on that brand the registrars will be facing tens of thousands of trademark lawsuits, would they not?
Google.com would be almost worthless if it was never turned into the company it is today…so to charge them extra due to their branding of the domain would be trademark infringement in my mind.
As potential problems go this is an interesting one indeed. So, if I take a domain like BlahBlah.com, and develop a site and turn it into a boombing business of selling BlahBlahs they are going to punish me by charging me an exorbitant rate for my success? If thats the case then why be successful. Same concept that you can only tax the rich so much before the rich don’t think its worth going to work anymore.
Microsoft.com wouldn’t be worth too much if they didn’t build up that brand name to what it is today. Maybe they should be punished for some stuff, but perhaps not for doing a good job with their branding.
If my landlord raised my rent to an exorbitant amount at my commercial office space based on how much revenue I generated at my office, then I’d probably have to tell him where to stick it.
They could only get away with so much on this. I’m definitely going to do the following:
1. Comment at ICANN
2. Make sure my good names are renewed for 10 years
Here is the good news (or the silver lining)
If you were ever looking to cash out on your domains, it should be a walk in the park to sell a domain for $500-$750k to some lucky winner when renewal fees are $200k for that particular domain and you’ve got 5 years left of your registration from when it was only $7.
Theoretically, with variable pricing VeriSign could hold Google hostage. But it’s not likely. More than likely if VeriSign had free reign it would raise renewal fees by more than 7% annually but not too much. It could even charge more for new registrations than renewals.
As I commented to ICANN and said before, I’m not as concerned with VeriSign being able to raise new registration prices as I am renewals.
Steve M says
Right you are, Andrew; comment given.