Domain Name Prices To Rise (And Keep Rising?)

    April 6, 2007

This won’t cause the end of the world, and it probably won’t even drive anyone out of business, but VeriSign is set to raise domain prices by 7-10%.  More ominous is the possibility that the prices will, from this point on, continue to increase on a yearly basis.  Oh, well – at least the company is being upfront about it.

“VeriSign Announces Increase in .Com/.Net Domain Name Fees,” it declared.  “[A]s of Oct. 15, 2007, the registry fee for .com domain names will increase from $6.00 to $6.42 and . . . the registry fee for .net domain names will increase, from $3.50 to $3.85.”

Perhaps to head off those fears about the future, VeriSign also informed readers, “This will be the first registry fee increase for .com and .net since the fee structure was put in place by ICANN in 1999.”

But no one’s feeling too comfortable right now; as Burke Hansen reports, a contract between VeriSign and ICANN may be a cause for worry.  It “provided for increases of seven per cent in four of any six years of the agreement,” he writes.

“However, the deal also provides that in any year when the seven per cent rate increase clause is not exercised . . . Verisign will still be able to raise its prices by seven per cent that year if any of several contingencies are met, such as a ‘threat of attack on the Security or Stability of the DNS’” – whatever that might be.

Even a one-time-only price hike itself will bring a flood of cash to VeriSign’s doors, with Michael Arrington putting the amount at $27 million per year.  “It’s good to be a monopoly,” the TechCrunch guru concluded.

To sum up: it looks like VeriSign may be poised to screw a lot of people out of a lot of money.  But if it helps, and if VeriSign’s most recent press release is a good indicator, the company will be pretty open about its actions.