Even if ICANN gives the company the nod, it won’t raise prices this year.
Verisign (NASDAQ: VRSN), the registry for .com and .net domain names, won’t raise prices for its domain names this year.
In an announcement on its blog, the company announced the price freeze in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
As of right now, Verisign can’t raise prices on .com anyway. However, ICANN is widely expected to allow Verisign to increase .com prices 7% this year. It’s not known if ICANN planned to delay its decision due to the pandemic.
Freezing .com prices for the year won’t have much of an impact on Verisign’s bottom line for the current year. Even if ICANN decided next month to allow the company to raise prices, it would have to wait 6 months before implementing the change. At the earliest, it would be able to raise prices in October.
What remains to be seen is if Verisign will ask for the right to increase prices twice (or double) next year due to this year’s freeze. That might require approval by the U.S. National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). [Update: Kevin Murphy points out that the “year” for Verisign’s first price increase doesn’t begin until October 20, anyway. So Verisign can initiate its first price increase for anytime between then and October 20, 2021.]
The company is also rolling out a program to registrars that may help registrants keep their domains if they aren’t able to pay for them due to the pandemic.