ICANN Approves Controversial Agreement with VeriSign

March 2, 2006
ICANN has approved a controversial agreement with VeriSign that has got some key players in the web hosting industry crying ‘foul’. ICANN, the Internet’s governing body, has been involved in a lawsuit with VeriSign, the managing body of domains with ‘.com’ and ‘.net’ extensions. The agreement between the organizations enables VeriSign to increase registration fees by 7% annually (in four years of the next six) and gives VeriSign indefinite control of the ‘.com’ registry.

Reaction to the agreement has been swift. A press release circulated by GoDaddy.com was short and to the point:

“ICANN, the governing body of the Internet, approved an agreement last night that will create an indefinite monopoly for VeriSign over the ‘.com’ registry. GoDaddy.com is outraged by the vote, and is encouraging the public to contact their elected officials before the Department of Commerce ratifies the decision.”

The reaction of BulkRegister, a leading domain name player, was equally blunt. BulkRegister’s General Manager Eric Rice said in a press release:

"We implore Congress to reject the ICANN-VeriSign settlement outright. Domain prices for consumers should be going down, not up. An agreement on the ‘.com’ registry should be motivated by what's right for the entire Industry, not a lawsuit and averting further litigation. VeriSign's lawsuit should not serve as a negotiating chip that it can use to pressure ICANN into deal. VeriSign is likely to net more than $3 billion from this agreement while consumers suffer higher domain prices without any justification from VeriSign for the increases. An additional affront is permitting VeriSign to automatically renew its management of the ‘.com’ registry in 2012 without any review or an open competitive rebidding process -- something every other registrar must do -- which is anathema to a free market. This is a bad deal for consumers, and it is unfair to registrars."

Bob Parson’s, CEO of GoDaddy.com, will revisit this topic in an upcoming interview with HostSearch.com.

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