Will VeriSign be able to engage in tiered pricing for .com soon?
According to the draft new gTLD contracts for Section 7.3: http://www.icann.org/en/topics/new-gtld-draft-summary-changes-24oct08-en.pdf http://www.icann.org/en/topics/new-gtld-comments-en.htm "Price controls have been removed for 2008 in favor of the transparent pricing model outlined above." Section 3.2.b) of the .com registry agreement states: http://www.icann.org/en/tlds/agreements/verisign/registry-agmt-com-01mar06.htm "ICANN shall not apply standards, policies, procedures or practices arbitrarily, unjustifiably, or inequitably and shall not single out Registry Operator for disparate treatment unless justified by substantial and reasonable cause." In my opinion, VeriSign (and other existing gTLD operators) are almost being invited to ask for their contracts to be amended to get the "same treatment" as new gTLDs in regards to the elimination of pricing caps. This once again could re-open the issue of tiered pricing that most have fought very hard against in order to protect registrants: http://www.circleid.com/posts/icann_tiered_pricing_tld_biz_info_org_domain/ I believe the language of these proposed new gTLD contracts needs to have hard caps in place to protect existing gTLD registrants. New gTLDs are NOT effective substitutes for existing gTLDs, and thus "competition" isn't going to keep VeriSign's pricing power in check. Even with a 10-year transition period, it would shock the conscience if VeriSIgn was permitted to arbitrarily and unilaterally raise the renewal price of .coms to millions or billions of dollars per year (say $1 billion/yr for Google.com, $10 million/yr for Hotels.com, $50 million/yr for Cars.com, $30 million/yr for Games.com, or whatever the market would bear), effectively re-auctioning the entire list of premium domain names to the highest bidder, removing the existing registrant and replacing things with .tv style pricing. Alternatively, all existing gTLD operators need to agree to language, before any new gTLDs are approved, that make explicit that the hard caps cannot be removed irregardless of whatever happens in other gTLDs. I also find it disturbing that the ICANN staff who prepared the draft agreements stated that for the existing 2005-2007 gTLD agreements for Section 7.3: http://www.icann.org/en/topics/new-gtld-draft-summary-changes-24oct08-en.pdf "(ICANN?s unsponsored gTLD registry agreements have not included price controls.)" This is demonstrably FALSE, see Section 7.3 of the current .biz, .info and .org agreements: http://www.icann.org/en/tlds/agreements/biz/registry-agmt-08dec06.htm http://www.icann.org/en/tlds/agreements/info/registry-agmt-08dec06.htm http://www.icann.org/en/tlds/agreements/org/registry-agmt-16jul08.htm each of which have in place a "Maximum Service Fee" due to the hard work of many in the ICANN community. It's very alarming that such misleading information is being put out by ICANN in regards to the description of existing consumer protections that exist for registrants. ICANN's registries have managed to create a "presumptive renewal" for themselves at the expense of the ICANN community who would fare better if registry operations were tendered to the lowest bidder. At a minimum, existing domain registrants should expect presumptive renewal of their own domains at a constant price, or one that reflects a price index of global technology costs (which is generally far below that of the Consumer Price Index). Sincerely, George Kirikos http://www.kirikos.com/