ICANN allows Verisign to start increasing .com prices indefinitely

ICANN announced that Verisign can start increasing .com wholesale domain pricing 7% every year for four years, with a two-year break, indefinitely. Verisign will increase its revenue by at least 70% over ten years (an additional $800m) in exchange for giving ICANN $20m.

Numbers based on 7% increase (2020-2023 and 2026-2029) multiplied by 144 million .com domains

I reported in December 2019 that the prices for generic top-level domains (gTLDs) were rising at an alarming rate, and now .com domains are going to cost a lot more too. Richard Kirkendall, CEO of Namecheap, sounded the alarm about .com price increases on Monday. Kirkendall said the deal was made behind closed doors and presents significant concerns.

ICANN and Verisign made these changes in secret, without consulting or incorporating feedback from the ICANN community or Internet users.

According to Kirkendall, there are approximately 144 million .com domains and the current wholesale price is $7.85. In exchange for Verisign giving ICANN $20 million dollars, ICANN is allowing Verisign to raise its wholesale pricing by up to 7% every year for a period of four years. After each four year period, they can’t raise prices for a period of two years. After the two year period, the cycle begins again, indefinitely.

The table below contains the annual price increase for each year, along with the expected revenue if the number of registered .com domains remains 144 million. Based on the projections, Verisign will grow its annual revenue from $1.1 billion to almost $2 billion by 2029.

Kirkendall is encouraging everyone to let ICANN know how they feel about the changes.

The Public Comment period is open through February 14, 2020. Submit your own personalized comment using ICANN‘s form. You can use the points in this post, but comments will have more impact if they are personalized and based upon your own experience. Everyone on the Internet will be touched by these changes, so together we must tell ICANN how we do not want this.

If these changes go into effect, the only way .com registrants will be able to avoid higher prices will be to register them for as many years as possible to lock in the current rate.

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Jon is the founder and Managing Editor of Coywolf. He has over 25 years of experience in web development, SaaS, internet strategy, digital marketing, and entrepreneurship. Follow @henshaw