ICANN posts for public comment the proposed renewal agreements of the .INFO and .BIZ Registries

ICANN posted today for public comment the proposed agreements for renewal of the Registry Agreement for .INFO and for .BIZ. This proposals are a result of discussions between ICANN/Afilias Limited and ICANN/Neustar, Inc. respectively.

After review of the public comments received, the ICANN Board will consider the proposed .INFO and .BIZ Registry Agreements for renewal.

A new provision is included to require the registry operator to amend its Registry-Registry Agreement to require registrars to use the 2013 RAA if registrars representing 67% of the registrations in the TLD sign the 2013 RAA. If the remaining registrars do not sign the amended Registry-Registrar Agreement requiring registrars to become a party to the final 2013 RAA within a certain time period, then the registrars’ access to the TLD registry system will be suspended (that is, those registrars will not be permitted to add new registrations). This requirement is dependent upon the registry operators of identified comparable gTLDs also submitting similar requests to amend their Registry-Registrar Agreements.

The original Registry Agreements had this duration:
.info 18 December 2006 – 31 December 2012
.biz 18 December 2006 – 31 December 2012
The contracts were then extended last December for another 6 months thus ending in 30 June 2013. All current gTLD Registry Agreements can be found here.

Here is the detailed information:
.INFO

Detailed Information
Section I: Description, Explanation, and Purpose:

ICANN is posting today for public comment a proposed agreement for renewal of the Registry Agreement for .INFO. This proposed draft is the result of discussions between ICANN and Afilias Limited, and will be considered by the ICANN Board after public comment. The current agreement is scheduled to expire on 30 June 2013.

The current registry agreement for .INFO, like other registry agreements, provides for presumptive renewal so long as certain requirements are met. The agreement also provides that upon renewal, changes may be made to render the terms similar to other comparable agreements. The proposed renewal agreement includes modified provisions to make the agreement in line with other comparable agreements, as well as additional provisions that are currently proposed in the final draft of the New gTLD Registry Agreement posted for public comment.

Included in the proposed renewal agreement are the following provisions:

  • Threats to Security and Stability: A new provision has been added to allow the registry operator to temporarily prevent the registration of one or more names in the TLD in order to respond to an imminent threat to the security and/or stability of the TLD or the Internet.
  • Use of Registrars Accredited Under the 2013 RAA: A new provision is included to require the registry operator to amend its Registry-Registry Agreement to require registrars to use the 2013 RAA if registrars representing 67% of the registrations in the TLD sign the 2013 RAA. If the remaining registrars do not sign the amended Registry-Registrar Agreement requiring registrars to become a party to the final 2013 RAA within a certain time period, then the registrars’ access to the TLD registry system will be suspended (that is, those registrars will not be permitted to add new registrations). This requirement is dependent upon the registry operators of identified comparable gTLDs also submitting similar requests to amend their Registry-Registrar Agreements.
  • Emergency Transition provisions: A new provision proposed in the New gTLD Registry Agreement is included in the renewal agreement to provide for emergency transition in the event the registry is unable to sustain certain critical registry functions for a period of time.
  • Code of Conduct: The registry operator will be required to comply with the Registry Code of Conduct as proposed in the New gTLD Registry Agreement.
  • Resolution of Disputes: The dispute resolution procedures were updated similar to the New gTLD Registry Agreement to require the parties to attempt to resolve the dispute through mediation before they may initiate arbitration.
  • WHOIS: The WHOIS output is required to be compatible with ICANN‘s common interface for WHOIS (InterNIC), and if requested by ICANN, the registry operator must provide a link on its website to a webpage designed by ICANN containing WHOIS policy and education materials.
  • Cross-ownership Restrictions: The renewal agreement lifts restrictions on cross-ownership of registry operators and registrars or registrar resellers.

Posted for public comment are both clean and “redline” versions of the agreement and modified appendices as follows:

Contractual Compliance Review:  As part of the renewal process, ICANN conducted a review of recent performance under the .INFO Registry Agreement. The compliance review covered areas including: Timeliness and Content of Monthly Reports; Add Grace Period Limits Policy; Bulk Zone File Requirements; and Payment of Required Fees. ICANN analyzed relevant data and documents and found that Afilias is in substantial compliance with the .INFO Registry Agreement in the areas reviewed by ICANN. The assessment can be found at: http://www.icann.org/en/resources/compliance/reports/operator-afilias-info-03jun13-en.pdf [PDF, 87 KB]

Section II: Background:

ICANN and Afilias Limited entered into Registry Agreement on 8 December 2006 for operation of the .INFO top level domain. The current registry agreement for .INFO may be viewed at: http://www.icann.org/en/about/agreements/registries/info

Section III: Document and Resource Links:

Current .INFO Registry Agreement and Appendices: http://www.icann.org/en/about/agreements/registries/info

Section IV: Additional Information:

None

.BIZ

Detailed Information
Section I: Description, Explanation, and Purpose:

ICANN is posting today for public comment a proposed agreement for renewal of the Registry Agreement for .BIZ. This proposed draft is the result of discussions between ICANN and Neustar, Inc., and will be considered by the ICANN Board after public comment. The current agreement is scheduled to expire on 30 June 2013.

The current registry agreement for .BIZ, like other registry agreements, provides for presumptive renewal so long as certain requirements are met. The agreement also provides that upon renewal, changes may be made to render the terms similar to other comparable agreements. The proposed renewal agreement includes modified provisions to make the agreement in line with other comparable agreements, as well as additional provisions that are currently proposed in the final draft of the New gTLD Registry Agreement posted for public comment.

Included in the proposed renewal agreement are the following provisions:

  • Threats to Security and Stability: A new provision has been added to allow the registry operator to temporarily prevent the registration of one or more names in the TLD in order to respond to an imminent threat to the security and/or stability of the TLD or the Internet.
  • Use of Registrars Accredited Under the 2013 RAA: A new provision is included to require the registry operator to amend its Registry-Registry Agreement to require registrars to use the 2013 RAA if registrars representing 67% of the registrations in the TLD sign the 2013 RAA. If the remaining registrars do not sign the amended Registry-Registrar Agreement requiring registrars to become a party to the final 2013 RAA within a certain time period, then the registrars’ access to the TLD registry system will be suspended (that is, those registrars will not be permitted to add new registrations). This requirement is dependent upon the registry operators of identified comparable gTLDs also submitting similar requests to amend their Registry-Registrar Agreements.
  • Emergency Transition provisions: A new provision proposed in the New gTLD Registry Agreement is included in the renewal agreement to provide for emergency transition in the event the registry is unable to sustain certain critical registry functions for a period of time.
  • Code of Conduct: The registry operator will be required to comply with the Registry Code of Conduct as proposed in the New gTLD Registry Agreement.
  • Resolution of Disputes: The dispute resolution procedures were updated similar to the New gTLD Registry Agreement to require the parties to attempt to resolve the dispute through mediation before they may initiate arbitration.
  • WHOIS: The WHOIS output is required to be compatible with ICANN’s common interface for WHOIS (InterNIC), and if requested by ICANN, the registry operator must provide a link on its website to a webpage designed by ICANN containing WHOIS policy and education materials.
  • Cross-ownership Restrictions: The renewal agreement lifts restrictions on cross-ownership of registry operators and registrars or registrar resellers.

Posted for public comment are both clean and “redline” versions of the agreement and modified appendices as follows:

(Note: Redlines for Appendix 2, Appendix 9 and Appendix 11 are not included because there are no proposed changes to current versions.)

Contractual Compliance Review: As part of the renewal process, ICANN conducted a review of recent performance under the .BIZ Registry Agreement. The compliance review covered areas including: Timeliness and Content of Monthly Reports; Add Grace Period Limits Policy; Bulk Zone File Requirements; and Payment of Required Fees. Neustar was found to be in compliance with the .BIZ Registry Agreement in all areas reviewed by ICANN. The assessment can be found at: http://www.icann.org/en/resources/compliance/reports/operator-neustar-biz-03jun13-en.pdf [PDF, 67 KB]

Section II: Background:

ICANN and Neustar, Inc. entered into Registry Agreement on 8 December 2006 for operation of the .BIZ top level domain. The current registry agreement for .BIZ may be viewed at: http://www.icann.org/en/about/agreements/registries/biz

Section III: Document and Resource Links:

Current .BIZ Registry Agreement and Appendices: http://www.icann.org/en/about/agreements/registries/biz

Section IV: Additional Information:

None

Wholesale prices in 2019: .INFO at $14.42 and .BIZ at $15.25 while .COM remains at $7.85

ICANN posted for public comment the proposed renewal agreements of the .INFO and .BIZ Registries. The new contracts will have a 6 year duration spanning up to 2019.

Afilias Limited, the .info registry, and Neustar, the .biz registry, as per the current ICANN registry contract can increase the wholesale price of .info and .biz domain names up to 10% every year. This privilege will continue to exist in the new contract ending in 2019.

.info price is set to increase by 10% to $8.16 on September 1st 2013. This is the Maximum Service Fee (as defined in the .INFO Registry Agreement) for annual increments of initial and renewal domain name registrations (including renewals associated with transfers from one ICANN-accredited registrar to another) in the .INFO registry.

On February 22 2013, Neustar Inc. announced they will be increasing the annual wholesale .BIZ domain registry fee to $8.63 per year, effective September 1, 2013.

On November 30th Verisign, Inc., the registry operator for .com, got it’s contact renewed for another 6 years but although Verisign got the contract renewal, it lost the right to raise the wholesale price of .com for the next 6 years. .com price will stay at $7.85 plus the ICANN fee.

So if Afilias and Neustar increase the wholesale prices 10% for each of the next 6 years thewholesale value of .info will be $14.42 in 2019 and the wholesale value of .biz will be $15.25 whilethe .com wholesale price will still be $7.85. The wholesale price of .info and .biz will be almost double of that of a .com.

Registries should be able to increase wholesale prices according to inflation. US inflation was at 1.1% in April. Registries are making a lot of money as it is with the current prices, so what is the point of these increases? To keep the investors happy?

Maybe it is time for the the U.S. Department of Commerce to deny this plan of raising prices 10% each of the next 6 years for .info and .biz. I will closely watch the comments made on the .info and .biz agreement renewals and give updates. Also the .org agreement renewal is coming up shortly.

Not everything is about .COM

.COM is king but not everything is about .com. There are still many opportunities in other gTLDs and ccTLDs. I had an intense 24 hours in domaining and my day didn’t involve too much of .com.

At first I got a call from one of the top 5 companies in the world (US based) that wanted to buy one of my .info domain names. My wife answered the call and gave me the phone to talk. The caller only told me his name, so I didn’t know for what company he was working for at that time. When he told what domain name he was interested in I knew he wouldn’t like my price. I can’t disclose the domain name but it wouldn’t be so hard to guess.

I asked him if he had an offer and he said that he wanted to hear my price first. I started telling him that I have declined a lot of 5 figure offers for this domain in the past few years. He interrupted me and told me that he only had an offer for $5,000 USD. So we left it at that and hung up. Don’t think for a moment that the 5 figure offers were a sales pitch. I have actually received these offers.

Then I got back on my PC only to find an email that the caller had send before he called me. He had send the same offer but it was then when the company he was working for was revealed. I didn’t know the company when I talked to him on the phone but my price was and is going to be the same. No matter who calls, my price will be the same for this particular domain. I don’t think this is over just yet…

On the same day I got an offer through DomainNameSales.com for a .org domain from one of the largest and most known UK associations. They are interested in buying a .org domain name I own.

Again on the same day I sold a .net domain at Sedo to a US individual and got a decent offer on a 3 letter .biz domain.

Finally I got an inquiry for a 3 letter .org that I am not willing to sell as it relates to my wife’s line of work. I am currently negotiating a lease for this domain.

And because most of the domains above haven’t produced any results yet here is what domains I have sold so far this year:
3 .com
3 .info
2 .org
1 .net
1 .us

All sales were for $1500 and up and only 4 of the 10 domain sales have been reported. All the others were private.

I must admit that I have a pretty diverse portfolio and that my .info portfolio is at least above average but my results must be very interesting. Don’t you think?

.COM is king and will be for many years to come but not everything is about .com.

.biz 10% price increase coming on September 1st 2013

Today, February 22 2013, Neustar Inc. announced to all of the .biz accredited registrars and ICANN that they will be increasing the annual wholesale .BIZ domain registry fee, effective September 1, 2013, following the required six month notice to Registrars. The annual domain name registration and renewal fees will increase by USD $0.78 from the current USD $7.85 per year to a maximum of USD $8.63 per year. That is an almost 10% price increase.

Neustar Inc., the .biz registry, a per the ICANN registry contract can increase the price of .biz up to 10% every year. The previous increase was done last year on February 1, 2012 ,from $7.30 to $7.85, including the ICANN fee. That was about 7.5%.

In December, PIR, the .org domain name registry, announced a price increase in .org effective July 1st 2013. Registrar price for .org will increase from $7.45 to $8.19. If you add the $0.25 ICANN fee the .org wholesale price will be at $8.44 in July.

Verisign announced that the .net registry fee will be increased from $5.11 to $5.62 effective July 1, 2013 as well.

On November 30th Verisign, Inc., the registry operator for .com, got it’s contact renewed for another 6 years but although Verisign got the contract renewal, it lost the right to raise the wholesale price of .com for the next 6 years. .com price will stay at $7.85 plus the ICANN fee.

Does my (dropping) domain worth the backorder?

I didn’t renew usedrobot.biz and it is dropping today, 28th of August. I bought the domain name in 2006 and this year I felt that it wasn’t worth the renewal fee.

My expired and now dropping domain usedrobot.biz is on Pool.com’s HOTLIST. This is supposed to be a list of the best dropping domains of the day. I guess there is a shortage of quality dropping domains as most of the top registrars are auctioning their best expired domains before they drop. But including usedrobot.biz is a bit of a stretch. The domains usedrobot.org and usedrobot.info are available to register and also usedrobot.biz didn’t get much traffic either. Of course I got zero offers to sell it.

So, does my dropping domain usedrobot.biz worth the $60+ backorder? I say it isn’t worth it. Let’s see if this is caught, by what service and by whom.

Pool’s Hot List from today includes other “hot” domains as well. These 2 caught my eye at first glance:

  • wwwtripadvisor.com (This is a typo of tripadvisor.com that would be very easy to be lost in a UDRP complaint)
  • jewlery.info (This is a typo of the U.S. spelling of the word jewelry. This would only get some typo traffic if the correct spelling jewelry.info was developed but it is actually parked at Sedo.)

There is a “www” problem under.gTLDs

I saw the under.me ad featuring Bar Refaeli just everybody else.

I have not invested in .me at all but it was very impressive. The only thing is that I was kind of shocked at the end. Huge letters appeared writing “under.me” and just below it wrote “www.under.me“.

What? Isn’t that the same thing? Why did they write the same thing twice? Did they write it because most people don’t understand that writing “under.me” in your browser with get you to a website? You don’t have to use .com at the end every single time. Apple, Amazon, Microsoft don’t use their web address at all in their ads. Everybody assumes .com  and finds them. Probably the people behind under.me are trying to educate us. And they are right to do so.

A couple of weeks back, Conan O’Brien on his show “Conan” wanted to promote his new conan.xxx parody website. His started the pitch by saying that last year a few new extensions were introduced: .biz .info and .xxx. Well yeah but .info was introduced in 2001 and .biz in 2002. Conan was off by a decade or so on these 2. And he has a team of writers behind him, let alone his web design firm that develops teamcoco.com and now conan.xxx. What about all the other people? Are they supposed to know all the gTLDs? Or even know that there are other domains except .com, .net, .org and .gov? Of course not, but someone can help them know about the new gTLDs.

This will be a huge problem with the thousands of new gTLDs that will be active in the next few years. ICANN must do something to create awareness for all these new gTLDs and the old ones as well! The registries can’t do it on their own. ICANN has millions of dollars coming in as we speak and they can’t spend all this money on conferences and hors d’ oeuvres. Actually they can but they shouldn’t.