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February 10, 2020

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Here's the The Lowdown from DN Journal,
updated daily
to fill you in on the latest buzz going around the domain name industry. 

The Lowdown is compiled by DN Journal Editor & Publisher Ron Jackson.

Voices Rising Against Proposed ICANN Agreement With Verisign That Would Push .Com Prices Up 31% in 4 Years

ICANN is again catching flak (on top of the incoming fire over the pending .org registry sale) by proposing that .com registry operator, Verisign, be allowed to raise the wholesale price of the world's most popular TLD 7% annually over each of the final four years of their current six-year contract. If approved, the current wholesale price to registrars of $7.85 would soar 31% to $10.26 by 2024.

Domain registrants already pay well above the wholesale price, of course, as registrars have to mark up prices to cover their overheard and marketing costs and make enough of a profit to stay in business. Big changes in the wholesale rate force them to pass price increases on to you. That doesn't make customers happy, so many leading registrars are strongly opposing the proposed agreement.

You can make your feelings known too, as ICANN is accepting comments from the public  through Friday, February 14. The Internet Commerce Association (ICA), the non-profit group that fights for domain registrant rights, has created a tool that makes it easy for anyone to file a comment. As of this writing, over 1,300 comments have been files and the number is growing quickly.

The ICA released this statement about the proposed agreement:

"Verisign is the sole-source supplier of .com domain names at the wholesale level, giving them an effective monopoly. When you register or renew a domain name through your registrar, such as GoDaddy or NetworkSolutions, $7.85 of your registration or renewal payment goes to Verisign. The actual cost to Verisign to provide the expensive infrastructure and the management of the registry has been estimated at between $2.50 to $2.90 per domain name per year. Other registries have said they can offer the same services at lower cost. But ICANN does not allow other companies the opportunity to bid to operate the .com registry, for ICANN has given Verisign the perpetual right to operate the .com registry - meaning forever!

As the cost to operate the .com registry drops lower and lower, Verisign's profits are already rising higher and higher. Verisign already enjoys one of the highest profit margins of any company in the world.  A further price increase is not justified. Yet ICANN staff has determined that Verisign should be able to increase prices on .com registrants by 7% per year from the current $7.85 to $10.26 after four years. This will impose hundreds of millions of dollars of added expense on .com registrants - simply to benefit Verisign.
ICANN is supposed to act in the public interest, and be responsive to public comment. This comment period is your opportunity to share your views with ICANN, whether you think the price increases are justified or unjustified. You can learn more about the issue in the following articles:

Circle IDVerisign's Attempt to Increase its Fees Still Unjustified Despite Diversionary Tactic

Circle IDHundreds of Millions of Dollars at Stake as .COM Price Freeze Set to Expire

Domain Name Wire.Com prices are going up after Verisign pays off ICANN

ICANN says it wants more public feedback. Here's your chance! Take 30 seconds to let ICANN know what you think.

(Posted February 10, 2020)  

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