Likely price hike for .com domain names

March 03, 2020 11:00 am

ICANN announced on January 3, 2020 that it is changing the contract they have with the .COM domain operator Verisign, Inc. The .COM Registry agreement has a proposed amendment submitted to ICANN. This amendment allows for annual price increases on .COM domains.

At Babal Host, we believe in transparency and low pricing to keep the internet accessible to all. Price increases on the registry level unfortunately result in price increase globally.

Similar price increase actions happened early for .ORG, .INFO, and .BIZ domains but the increase in price for .COM is likely to have a much bigger impact given that .COM is by far the largest with over 144 million domains under it. In percentage, this is almost 40% of the global internet domain names and 73% of all gTLDs.

As of Sept. 30, 2019, the largest TLDs by number of reported domain names were .com, .tk., .cn, .de, .net, .uk, .org, .tw, .nl and .ru. Source: Verisign, Inc.

If the agreement goes through, ICANN is set to receive an extra $20 million from Verisign, Inc. over a five-year period. No set guidelines are in place for where these funds will be used. ICANN was started to introduce competition between domain name registrars but many say that it is increasingly becoming the problem.

The major implication of the decision is going to be on the price itself. Verisign, Inc. currently charges its wholesalers $7.85 and the price is capped at $10.26 before ICANN fee until October 2026. However, with the revised agreement the Verisign is allowed to increase the price by 7% each year through 2020 to 2023. At this point, the company will have a price freeze for 2 years but is allowed to increase the price by 7% yearly from 2026 to 2029. There will be another 2-year price freeze after which the cycle continues again of 4 years of price increase followed by 2-years of price freeze. After 10 years, the price is set to be almost twice (~72% higher) than the current price.

What can you do about this?

ICANN currently has a post up for public comment, which will run until February 14, before that you can pass your comments and let them know how you feel about the change. You can access the post from the following page "Proposed Amendment 3 to the .COM Registry Agreement".