The arbitrary 10-year limit should be increased.
Domain name renewal prices are going up.
They’ve been going up for a while, and they’re soon likely to go up in the two most important generic top level domain names:
.Com prices will likely be 70% higher at the end of this decade.
.Org prices will likely more than double in price in eight years.
ICANN has built-in an added “protection” for domain name owners in the event of a price increase. Assuming they are aware of the impending price increase, registrants can renew their domains for up to ten years at current prices.
So, if you have the cash available and don’t mind paying for a service a decade in advance, you can lock-in today’s prices.
Even though they lose out on the increases, registries tend to like this provision. It guarantees 10 years of renewals and all of it is paid upfront.
So why 10 years? It’s a seemingly arbitrary number.
Given the importance of domain names and the risk of loss if a domain expires or becomes too expensive, it’s time for ICANN to increase this cap. And since ICANN treats top level domains as assets now, allowing registries to offer domains for over a decade doesn’t present the complications it would if it put contracts out to bid.
There are three possible registration terms that make sense.
One would be to double the maximum renewal to 20 years. It’s still arbitrary but is substantial.
Another is to offer 99-year terms. This is common in all sorts of leasing, including land leasing. It’s a long time.
The final would be to offer forever registrations. Once you pay for the domain, you effectively own it forever.
Domain name registrar Epik has offered “forever registrations” and I applaud the registrar for the idea. But this can’t take place solely at the registrar level. It has to be at the registry level because, eventually, the registrar will be squeezed by price or might close down. (Epik’s terms allow the company to return the registration fee and cancel future renewals.)
Corporations would be the first to take advantage of longer-term registrations. But I would do it for many of my domains that I never intend to let go, too. I currently register some of my most important domains for many years in advance.
It’s time for the arbitrary registration limit to be removed.
Will be interesting to see where domainers stand on this issue.
They get to renew their valuable domains for years and years and lock in prices , avoiding the coming price increases
But…. many people would renew their valuable domains for longer terms, so less inventory in auctions
Andrew Allemann says
There would be less opportunity in expired domain name auctions. Frankly, I don’t want to acquire domains that people merely forgot to renew. I want to acquire expired domains that people mean to let go because they no longer want them.
Robert Monster - Epik.com says
Andrew did reference our activity here:
The registries have been slow to embrace this movement.
I think for Donuts it would be a massive game-changer. They could actually sell the domains for perpetuity and monetize transactions from platforms.
For Uniregistry it is the only way to get back in the game since trust went out the window with the last round of arbitrary 30X price increases.
Let’s hope it happens in 2020. It’s time. ICANN won’t fight it and for .ORG it could be the path to redemption in the public eye plus a boatload of frontloaded cash.
It is time to get this done.
Trademarks are registered on a 10 year renewal basis. Why would domains be different? “Forever” registrations are not feasible because in the world of business you generate revenue by offering associated services past the initial sale. No registrar relies solely on registrations, and if you offer domains “forever” at the registry, or even for 20 years, customers don’t return for SSL certificates, hosting etc. Also, this creates a big change in the dropping game and no active registrar or other such platform wants that.
Andrew Allemann says
Why does it matter how long trademarks are registered for?
Also, I’m not talking about registering domains at the registry. I’m saying the registry offers the longer term, which the registrar then resells, just like today.
The renewal model established by e.g. the USPTO and other trademark offices was apparently why domain names are set to renew to a max of 10 years. It also makes the inventory more mobile: drop the domain by not renewing it. Changing that timeframe to forever or even 20 creates a lot of issues, including dormant domains remaining “forever” or for 20 years in the possession of people no longer alive.
I’d love to own domains forever but then they’d come with a substantially higher price ticket that can’t be feasible across hundreds or thousands of domains.
Andrew Allemann says
I think I understand your first argument, similar to old twitter handles that can’t be used.
I don’t understand your second argument. It would be entirely optional to register your domains for a long time, just like you have the choice of 1 to 10 years today. I certainly wouldn’t register all of my domains forever.
No, it’s not time for longer registration terms.
It’s time for competitive bidding at the registry level.
Andrew, well said and I could not agree with you more about this.
Mark Thorpe says
Domains should of never had expiration dates IMO.
But seeing that they do, maximum domain registrations and renewals should be increased to 20 years from 10 years.
Music to my ears. Thanks for writing this, Andrew. It’d increase liquidity and boost value. People who want keep it the same; the ones in love with “rent paying” mentality.
These are assets. Let’s treat them like one.
ICANN probably stands lose most from the 18 cents fee per domain, they’d get less of, therefore now is the time to strike, since they’d be most complacent from the billions they stand to reap from the likely .org sale.
Andrew Allemann says
They get paid 18 cents per year of renewal, so they wouldn’t lose out.
More of a massive cash grab for registries. You want to pay us full list price upfront for ten years of registrations? Sure! 20 years? Be our guest!
Only if the long-term renewal options came with a discounted pricing scale for paying all those years of fees upfront would it be a little more fair for registrants.
Frank Michlick says
Registries would also have to provide discounted pricing to registrars for multi year renewals. None of the gTLD registries do that today, aside from the occasional marketing rebate, as far as I know.
But I do agree, the 10 year limit seems arbitrary, and I can’t see any good technical reason for it.
Both Epik and Rob Monster are two crap.
Bringing a domain to Epik, which belongs to a neo-Nazi, is to declare loss of money and honor.
Ok. Move out all the risk to Registries, who now have to plan costs going out more than 10 years.
If you can’t see the risk in this idea, you’ve never put together, and implemented a long term budget, or done a deferred income statement.