ICANN removes price threshold for .org domain - why the IT community is against and what will happen next

    Also .info and .biz fell under the distribution.

    / photo David Goehring CC BY

    ICANN changes the rules of the game

    ICANN has amended the terms of the agreement with the Public Interest Registry (PIR) domain registrar responsible for .org. Previously, he was forbidden to assign a base price for a domain above $ 8.25 ( paragraph 7.3 ). Once a year this rate could be increased, but no more than by 10%. Similar restrictions apply to all large domain zones, including .com, for which Verisign is responsible. This approach and competition between registrars helps to curb price increases.

    Earlier this year, ICANN decided to provide PIR with the ability to set their prices for .org domains. In late June, this decision entered into force. Moreover, the changes affectedand two other top-level domains - .info and .biz. They are controlled by operators Afilias and Neustar.

    Why the ban was lifted

    Today you can find a domain name in the zone .com or .org in the range of 10-13 dollars. But in recent years, many other domain zones for commercial organizations have appeared on the market, the rules for setting prices for which are not regulated in any way.

    ArsTechnica editors say changing the terms of the contract with PIR (as well as Afilias and Neustar) is ICANN’s attempt to standardize contracts with domain registrars to give them more freedom. In theory, such a solution should help make the market more "consistent."

    Probably, there are financial reasons behind the decision. At the end of 2018, ICANN representatives said that the organization may face a shortage of funds in the next five years. ICANN’s revenue from domain sales is expected to decrease (or remain the same), but the cost of maintaining existing systems will increase.

    ICANN’s budget is primarily based on revenue from assessed contributions from registrars. For example, Verisign pays $ 18 million a year. Rising domain prices will allow ICANN to increase the flow of funds. This can help the organization stay afloat in the long run.

    IT community against

    Initially, ICANN and PIR worked on the new terms of the transaction behind closed doors before submitting the issue for public comment. But the decision to remove price restrictions was made despite the almost unanimous objections of the IT community.
    The author of the Review Signal blog analyzed all the comments received by the domain name management corporation. It turned out that as many as 3252 respondents favored maintaining the status quo. Only six people spoke in support of the new rules. One was a former Verisign manager, and the other was a member of a lobbying company for registrar interests. Thus, more than 98% of respondents considered the abolition of base tariffs a bad idea.

    The ICANN decision was opposed by representatives of the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and the Domain Name Rights Coalition (DNRC), which protect the constitutional rights of Internet users.

    In their words , ICANN such initiatives should be coordinated with the IT community. A large number of public organizations use the .org top-level domain. The increase in price may adversely affect their activities, as they will not be able to forecast the budget in the new market conditions.

    / photo Kai Pilger Unsplash

    This view is shared by the nonprofit organization National Public Radio (NPR), which broadcasts news from 800 American radio stations, the US National Geographic Society, and the C-SPAN television network. They even prepared an open letter to ICANN asking them to reconsider the decision.

    Some domain registrars also opposed the ICANN decision. According to Namecap in his corporate blog, such a move would lead to uncontrolled price increases.

    Perhaps someone will have to pay ten times more for renewing their domain. Although representatives of the PIR Registry have already made a statement that the company will not raise prices. But what happens when the organization changes leadership - this question remains open.

    In the near future, the reform is unlikely to have a noticeable impact. Author Resource Domain Name Wire Ellimann Andrew (Andrew Allemann) sure that registrars will not inflate in the hundreds or thousands of times. But the situation itself sets a dangerous precedent. It is believed that in 2024, when it endscontract between ICANN and Verisign, you can expect a repeat of the story with the .com domain zone.

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