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Opposed to .com registry agreement extension; it should instead be tendered

  • To: <comments-com-amendment-30jun16@xxxxxxxxx>
  • Subject: Opposed to .com registry agreement extension; it should instead be tendered
  • From: George Kirikos <gkirikos@xxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Thu, 30 Jun 2016 15:06:00 +0000 (UTC)

Comments by: George Kirikos
Company: Leap of Faith Financial Services Inc.
Website: http://www.leap.com/
Date: June 30, 2016

Verisign and ICANN have proposed extending the .com registry agreement by 6 
years, until 2024:


We oppose this proposed contract extension. The .com registry agreement, like 
all other registry agreements, should be instead put out to a competitive 
public tender to ensure that registrants are obtaining the lowest possible 
price for a fixed set of registry services (with accompanying SLA) for a fixed 
term (no more than 5 years, after which it would be again subject to a new 
public tender process). If there was going to be an amendment, that competitive 
public tender term should be the amendment that the community should be 

If the .com contract was put out to a competitive public tender, it is likely 
that the registry fees would fall by at least 75% to below $2/yr per domain. 
It's even possible that fees would fall by 90% or more (especially if Google 
and/or Amazon put in bids, given the scale of those 2 organizations in cloud 
services and DNS). It's even possible that Verisign would win the public 
tender, albeit with a much lower registry fee than today. While it's clear that 
Verisign benefits by locking in its current anti-competitive and monopoly 
contract at pricing that is far above that which would exist in a competitive 
market, registrants, the community and the public do not benefit.

We urge the NTIA/DOC to reject this attempt by ICANN and Verisign to "lock in" 
the current bad deal for consumers for yet another 6 years

Indeed, Neustar is facing the loss of their telephone number management 
contract to Telcordia, due to the pro-competition and pro-consumer policies of 
the FCC:


It is telling that ICANN protects monopolists from competition, while the FCC 
does not. ICANN does not deserve to be "set free" of US control, when it acts 
against the public interest with these anti-competitive "sweetheart deals" with 
registries that have long harmed registrants (through above-market costs for 
registry services, which are passed along by registrars). These sweetheart 
deals are "negotiated" by executives at ICANN who themselves are paid 
exorbitant salaries (far above comparable "non-profits"), who have an interest 
in maintaining the "status quo" of a system that is out of whack with 
competitive markets. 

While it's true that a "presumptive renewal" clause currently exists, there is 
no need to invoke it more than 2 years in advance. Circumstances might arise in 
the future (e.g. anti-trust charges, bad behaviour by Verisign like Sitefinder 
in the past, political change in the USA, or other events) which may lead to 
non-renewal. Of course, these potential circumstances frighten Verisign 
shareholders, and keep their executives awake at night, so they seek to get out 
ahead of them by attempting to extend the contract very early.

With more than 2 years to go in the current agreement (which doesn't expire 
until November 30, 2018), there is absolutely no pressing need to extend this 
contract now (not counting the "pressing need" of Verisign shareholders to 
protect their anti-competitive monopoly). We need only look at the example of 
how the NTIA extends its contracts with ICANN (for the IANA agreement) when 
nearing expiration -- it typically does so only a few months in advance, and 
not 2+ years in advance.


George Kirikos

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