A recent Government proposal calls that owners of Romanian .ro domain names should pay an annual fee starting next year, to renew ownership of their domain. It is not yet clear what the renewal fee will be. Currently owners of Romanian domain names only pay a one time registration fee, which is about 47 Euro or about 63,5 USD.
There are about 700,000 .ro domain names currently active, so the state is hoping to raise more money annually, as well as solve the situation of the many unused Romanian domain names. The strategy is similar to the one used for most domain names around the world where a yearly renewal fee is applied. If the current owner fails to pay the fee, the domain is suspended and then deleted and can be re-sold.
The state will see a steady revenue stream from yearly renewals but the 700k registrations may shrink by a lot once the yearly fee is introduced. And of course that is not the way to solve the unused domain name problem.
The Government decision features a renewal period of three months from when the decision will be published in the Official Government Gazette, which applies to all registered .ro domains within the previous 24 months. The renewal can be done for one year, or for two years, with payment in advance.
The National Institute for Research & Development in Informatics (ICI), which manages and sells the .ro domains, says that it needs to get more revenues to cover maintenance costs, data security costs, as well as database management costs. They already have about 45 million dollars from the 700,000 registered domains.
ICI offers a whois service which allows finding info about the owner of a .ro domain on rotld.ro. On the same website the institute sells domain names. A .ro domain name currently costs USD 51.26 plus the VAT of 24 percent, when bought directly from ICI. Romanian domain names can also be bought via hosting companies, which act as re-sellers.
It remains to be seen what the cost of the yearly fee will be and how older registrations are going to be treated.