The government appears to back off four months after questioning Verisign’s proposed o.com sale.
A few months after a National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) official objected to Verisign (NASDAQ: VRSN) auctioning off o.com, an official says it’s no problem after all.
In December, then-Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce Adam Candeub sent a letter to Verisign stating issues it had with the plan to auction off the domain and donate the proceeds to charity. One of the issues was that Verisign would sell o.com for more than the maximum allowable price for .com domains under its Cooperative Agreement.
Now, Verisign has provided a letter dated March 30, 2021, from Nuria Martinez, Grants Officer at the U.S. government’s National Institute of Standards and Technology. She consulted with NTIA and the Department of Commerce’s Office of the General Counsel. They found that selling the domain does not require approval of the Department of Commerce, nor does it constitute an increase to the maximum price charged according to its definition in the Cooperative Agreement, she wrote.
The new letter has broader implications than just o.com. The original letter was seen as a potential harbinger of things to come regarding pushback against Verisign. Could this reversal mean that the new administration won’t pay much attention to the .com contract?