Changes are coming to the Wild West of web properties. And they could be bad news for internet cowboys who like to rope domain names.
At the .com corral, there are 2 major players:
- The nonprofit ICANN, which organizes all of the unique domains …
- … and Verisign, a private company that administers the .com’s and the .net’s.
They announced a proposal that could raise the going rate of a .com — and some companies are steamed.
That’s because the price of a .com has been capped since 2012
And the changes mean the cap could be coming off. Here’s how the process typically works:
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- To lock down a .com domain, companies must use a registrar like GoDaddy or Dynadot.
- Those registrars pay Verisign a fee, which has been capped at $7.85 for the last 8 years.
- It’s capped because Verisign basically has no competition.
But the new agreement allows Verisign to raise the $7.85 price by 7% for each of the next 4 years. And then 4 out of every 6 years after that.
ICANN and Verisign say they’re just going along with the wishes of the Department of Commerce, which gave them the green light to raise prices.
But Verisign could strike gold
Namecheap estimates that there are 140m+ .com domains out there. Ars Technica says that means Verisign could see $500m in additional revenue per year, if the changes stick.
It’s not yet clear how much of the price hikes will be passed on to consumers. But Namecheap’s CEO said it’s likely that domain-name registrants will end up paying for most of them.