[Comments-com-amendment-3-03jan20] ICANN Verisign agreement

Phillip seiflein seiflein at hotmail.com
Tue Feb 11 14:37:16 UTC 2020

This is reference to the uncontrolled arms-length contractual arrangements between ICANN and Verisign.

The unsupervised activities of these two organization have worldwide ramifications on Internet use and traffic. As these are now vital arteries of communication throughout worldwide society any misuse will have a great recoil of detrimental effects.

As a tech familiar with domains and storage I am aware of the costs of new technology and storage.

As a seasoned businessman and individual I know that the costs associated with storing a few bits of information in the form of a Domain name and sending out automated information about it once a year isn't even pennies, let alone dollars which you currently charge for a "domain name". By initial review you should be making thousands of percents over costs over facility equipment and personnel. And now, you want to increase those huge percentages by 7% a year? This is either pure greed, or foolishness. In either case, you need a strictly business supervisor to keep watch over you from an outside agency.

The conclusion which will be apparent to ANY government/public agency is that there is tremendous waste, extravagant spending, and gouging of the innocent public by two arms-length monopolies controlling the use of part of the internet.

In as much as your careless and unregulated actions are detrimental to the economy, harm innocent users, and reflect substantial personal gain through use of government channels, I will support and endeavor to have any further misuse of your mutual organizations removed from these critical public social and business channels and put into the protective hands of a conservancy.

They require a Finance Officer who can say "No" to wasteful expense, and they need to establish a competitive bidding system which will keep the prices down, instead of up, as this "friendly" arrangement will provide for.

Philip Seiflein

cc: Congressional Representative Julia Brownley

In Re:

ICANN Allows .COM Price Increases, Gets More Money 
Richard Kirkendall<https://www.namecheap.com/blog/author/richard/> | February 10, 2020
5 min read

On January 3, 2020, ICANN announced significant changes to the contract it has with Verisign, Inc. to operate the top-level domain .COM.

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

Although ICANN has a history of making similar deals behind closed doors, and also of ignoring unified opposition against such action<https://www.namecheap.com/blog/ensuring-icann-keep-domain-prices-in-check/>, Namecheap will continue to lead the fight against price increases that will harm our customers and the Internet as a whole. (For more information about Namecheap’s efforts to maintain domain name price controls, visit pricecaps.org<http://pricecaps.org/>.)

The changes to the .COM agreement will have a much bigger impact on the Internet than the previous action for .ORG, .INFO, and .BIZ domains, due to the dominance of .COM. There are 359.8 million total domain names, of which 144 million are .COM — that’s 40% of all domain names. With 161.8 million country-specific TLDs (ccTLDs), there are 198 million generic TLDs (gTLDs). That means that .COM makes up 73% of all gTLD domain names.

ICANN was created in part to introduce competition between domain name registrars, but now ICANN itself is at the heart of the problem, without considering any input from Internet users on these critical decisions.

There are four main concerns with ICANN’s decision:

1. Price Increases

Verisign will be allowed to increase the wholesale price to registrars for .COM domains by 7% each year in 2020, 2021, 2022, and 2023. After a two year “freeze”, Verisign can increase prices by 7% annually during 2026-2029, then another two year “freeze”. This cycle will continue, meaning that within 10 years, .COM domains could cost approximately 70% more than the current wholesale price of $7.85 — and the sky is the limit.

It is not clear how much of these price increases registrars will pass along to consumers, but it is likely that most of these increases will be paid by domain name registrants. The contract does allow for other price increases for certain extraordinary situations, so it is possible prices could increase more than anticipated.

2. ICANN Will Receive an Extra $20 Million

With the contract changes, Verisign agreed to pay ICANN an additional $20 million dollars over five years to support ICANN’s initiatives regarding the security and stability of the domain name system. There is no explanation why Verisign did this, how ICANN will spend the money, or who will ensure that the funds are properly spent.

3. Verisign Can Operate as a Domain Registrar

ICANN also had rules that the operator of a TLD could not operate a domain name registrar. Although in 2012 ICANN allowed operators of new gTLDs to have domain name registrars, it did not apply to Verisign. The new contract will allow Verisign to operate its own registrar, except for selling .COM domain names itself. To circumvent this, it is also possible that Verisign could act as a reseller of .COM domains, through another registrar.

This result is that the company that controls almost 80% of the registrar pricing for domain names will compete directly with all domain registrars, maximizing its control of domain name pricing to the detriment of other competing registrars. While this might result in lower prices to consumers, fewer registrars will harm competition, choice, and domain name services.

Verisign’s registrar could also use its dominant position to charge higher prices to consumers, while at the same time raising registrar prices.

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