Registries want to remove all pricing controls on new top level domain names.
ICANN’s Registries Stakeholder Group (RySG) has submitted comments regarding the Proposed Final Applicant Guidebook for new top level domain names. One proposed change sticks out: requesting no notice requirements for price changes on top level domain names.
As it stands in the guidebook right now, a registry for new TLDs must give 30 days notice prior to changing the cost of a new domain name registration and 180 days notice for renewals.
The latter is particularly important; it ensures that you have time to renew your domain names prior to any price increase.
For example, say you register a domain name for $10. Later, the registry decides to increase annual prices to $100. The notice requirements would give you plenty of time to renew the domain name for $10 per year (say, for the next 10 years) rather than having to suddenly fork out ten times as much for your domain.
In its comments to ICANN, RySG wrote that “These rules would create a disparity between new TLD and existing TLD pricing policy and practices.”
I’m not sure that this would provide must disparity, at least that would hurt registries. Most gTLDs today require about a six month notice period to raise prices for both new and renewal registrations. If anything, the new rules give registries more leeway.
In any event, ICANN has established that there will be no price caps for new TLD contracts and has decided to allow full vertical integration of registries and registrars, absent market power and a determination by a competition authority in instances where market power may be a factor. As such, ICANN’s framework provides no basis for ICANN to dictate registry pricing policies and practices.
Members of RySG include Public Interest Registry (.org), Neustar (.biz), Afilias (.info, .mobi) and VeriSign (.com, .net). Of the 13 members of RySG, 11 voted in favor of the comments submitted and 2 did not vote.