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.