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Ted Cruz asks DOJ to review .Com pricing

Cruz and two other senators question DOJ over .com pricing.

U.S. Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Mike Lee (R-Utah), and Rep. Sean Duffy (R-Wis.) sent a letter to the Department of Justice yesterday that echoes the concerns I presented in an article about .com pricing.

The Senators want to make sure that the .com contract extension and transition of the U.S. government’s “control” of the internet does not provide an opening for Verisign to increase .com prices.

Cruz has been on a mission to delay or thwart the government transition. I’ve disagreed with most of his concerns about the transition. But I’m glad he’s asking about .com pricing.

As I wrote yesterday, I’ve tried to get clear answers about how the U.S. government will maintain a role in setting pricing for the .com monopoly going forward. I haven’t received them. Cruz’s letter should get a real answer.

We know we can’t trust ICANN to set fair prices for .com. Last time the .com contract was extended, ICANN granted Verisign the right to increase prices 7% in four of the six years of the contract. The DOJ stepped in to block the price increase.

We’re seeing the price of registry services plummet. Providing registry services at scale is very cheap, and some companies are now offering backend registry services for less than a dollar a name. Verisign charges $7.85 per name, and that’s with staggering scale — over 127 million .com domain names are registered. I’m not saying the right price for .com is a dollar, but it’s certainly not more than $7.85.

Verisign has a contractual right to renew the .com contract in perpetuity. That’s fine; it does a great job managing .com. I think the only thing that needs to be put in check is how much it gets to charge registrars each time a .com domain is registered or renewed.

Cruz’s letter cites a number of domain name industry blogs, including Domain Name Wire, The Domains and DomainIncite.

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  1. Yohan says

    This seems like a government acknowledgement that only .com matters. It is as if the others do not even exist and now that I think about it, they kinda don’t and probably never will. I’ll be sticking with .com, especially if the government helps keep renewal pricing lower than the .craps

    • Randy Frushour says

      The report is not only skewed lying it is obvious that it is a load of crap. Somebody’s agenda. Take it with a grain of salt. Congress least of all is going to do anything appreciably for the open interne. This year it will b realigning under the governing body of the UN.
      When transitioned look to the new President and CEO of ICANN. The current leader is merely interim.
      Like I say when new candidates surface we’ll chime up.

  2. McTim says

    That time a Republican stood in the way of free market capitalism. Many people are saying that every TLD registry operator is a Monopoly. Sad.

  3. Aaron Strong says

    It’s unfortunate that this is such a political issue and some people just oppose it based on who is complaining (Cruz and Lee)…. The pricing issue is a just a small example of much larger issues that will arise if the transition proceeds. Many issues will arise when private companies partner with corrupt governments (multi-stake model) with no oversight.

  4. Randy Frushour says

    For the matter what does the editorial suppose anyway that Verisign need to market their contracts be they new or renewals through Registrars if the board directs these crooked outliers straight away out of business for all their backroom practices and secretive backordering let alone to character here everyone’s major concern with political infighting over a few dollars more or less when already real domain property has risen into six figure dollar amounts to the whole public participation for first time registrations for hundreds of top level domain names. EG. .Google . I look to nominate some to candidate for leadership of ICANN from the credit card industry who well connected to this technological data driven digital conversion to full-swing ecommerce who have no reliance on currencied fiat-backing to the declining world – but, domain shift with full consciousness that times HAVE CHANGED and political correctness plunged. My site Tracgo.com paid under registry ICANN Whois being hijacked by these very politician types working fraudulent misrepresenting cobtracts through overseas offices under ungennuine business like whois.Com.
    Watch your head fellas. Your correct sight is in the direction of the UN currently not the outgoing Congress of the US. Who are kidding?

  5. chrisbrennan7 says

    the reality is that if the increase prices significantly they may actually lose money as many investors will drop marginal names.

  6. Randy says

    Dropping a name or four every month for my margin only gets an investor back to zero where began at going rates. Investors drop names for better names coming down the highway or coming to mind. $10 a name is an investment? A monetized name now that’s an investment.

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