The price of .com domains could go up soon, and you can thank President Donald Trump.
With a new contract, Verisign can now raise prices for .com domains – and businesses could pass these higher costs on to consumers.
First, here are the organizations you need to know about. The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is a non-profit organization that has the Internet's domain name system. The Verisign registry manages all .com domains on the web and sells them wholesale to registrars such as Namecheap and GoDaddy, which they sell to individuals and organizations.
Why is this happening? Everything results from a political decision by the Trump administration, as Engadget emphasizes.
ICANN, the referee of the Verisign contract, takes a lot of heat. It defended itself earlier this week and said it was "not a price regulator and is postponing the US Department of Commerce and Department of Justice pricing for .COM registration services."
However, ICANN has the authority to actually allow price increases.
"ICANN seems to claim that NTIA sets prices, but that's wrong," said Zak Muscovitch, general counsel of the Internet Commerce Association, a nonprofit commercial organization that represents web developers and domain name owners, in a statement to Mashable. "NTIA specifically said that it was Verisign's responsibility to pursue this with ICANN and that ICANN * may * decide to increase it. But there is absolutely no reason not to increase any price other than Verisign give more money. "
Domain registrars and Internet activists raise the alarm.
Verisign has agreed to pay ICANN $ 20 million over the next five years, on the grounds that the funds will be used to improve the security of the domain system.
According to ICANN's new contract terms, Verisign may increase .com prices by 7 percent each year for the next four years. There would then be a price freeze for two years. In 2026, Verisign could start again increasing .com prices by 7 percent for another four years.
Since 2012, the previous contract set Verisign's annual .com pricing at $ 7.85 per domain. The new contract could raise the .com wholesale price to over $ 13 over the next ten years.
As a registration, Verisign does not sell .com domain names directly to the public. These are the prices that domain registrars such as Namecheap and GoDaddy pay. And higher domain prices could cause these registrars to charge customers more.
Domain registrars and Internet activists raise alarm about the new contract between ICANN and the .com registration.
Richard Kirkendall, CEO of Domain Registrar Namecheap, has accused ICANN and Verisign of making "secretly" changes. However, Verisign refers to statements it has made since 2018, including its most recent joint press release with ICANN on January 3 this year.
The ICA estimates that Verisign is "ready to make an additional $ 340 million in annual profits." its already unbelievable profit margins "thanks to the new contract. The organization launched a website called" Stop the Increase of .COM "in protest of the price changes.
With the new contract, Verisign, the .com registry, can operate its own registrar. The terms do not allow .com domains to be sold directly, but Namecheap believes Verisign could sell them through a third party reseller.
When Verisign begins, .com domains are sold directly to consumers sell and set its own wholesale prices at the same time, other registrars fear that they cannot compete. There may also be antitrust problems. Think Apple advertises its own apps in its app store or Amazon highlights its branded products in its market.
Verisign said that the changes in its terms with ICANN only offer the company price flexibility and not it t commit to actually increasing the prices or open your own registrar. It was also noted how many domain registrars have increased consumer registration prices, regardless of the fact that Verisign's wholesale prices have been frozen since 2012.
Namecheap, the Internet Commerce Association and others urged people to be heard during ICANN's February 14th
This is not the first time that activists have complained about ICANN. Last year, the contract was fully signed with the Public Interest Registry (PIR), which monitors the .org domain, so PIR can raise prices as much as it wants.
During the public comment phase for .org, more than 3,500 responses were logged, of which 98 percent advocated price caps. However, ICANN has already lifted the price caps for .org.
Verisign said there is a big difference between the .org and .com contract changes: price collateral. In contrast to .org, the .com domain keeps its upper price limit. Consumers can be sure that their registration prices would not increase by more than 7 percent a year.
The company said that in the first month of ICANN's public comment period, there were only a handful of comments before domain speculators – those that invest in hundreds, thousands, or even hundreds of thousands, of domains to be sold in the aftermarket – have begun to stand up to the changes.
Shortly after the .org price cap was lifted, PIR's parent company sold the .org registration to Ethos Capital. a private equity firm. The events that lead to sales among internet activists and industry representatives.
The private equity acquisition of the .org domain extension is currently being suspended at the request of the California Attorney General, who is now up for sale.
"With both the .org debacle and the upcoming .com fiasco, we have I see that ICANN is making some of the most important decisions it has ever made, despite the public interest and overwhelming opposition," said Muscovitch towards Mashable. "Nobody wanted to remove the .org price cap, but that's exactly what ICANN did."
"With .com, ICANN is ready to do this again," he said.