Wake up people! ICANN and the registries want to steal your domain names!

Opinions

This is not just about .asia that no one cares about. Not even .org.

It is about ICANN and the legacy registries starting an attack on all our domain names.

It started with Verisign asking a few months back to be able to raise .com prices again after the US department of commerce forbid any .com price increases in 2012 for 6 years.

(Actually it all started with the introduction of New gTLDs and ICANN not putting price caps of these but that is another sad story.)

Then ICANN suddenly decided to have a public comment about .org and .info that basically wants to give them a new contract that allows the respective registries to have uncapped increases in prices. That is even though the registries can increase domain registrations and renewals by 10% every year. 10% is already a very high number, well over inflation.

So this is not just about .org. Allowing for .asia to not have any price caps will open the door to no price caps to all other extensions in the future. We must see the whole picture now.

ICANN will start with the .asia, then move to biz and then .org and .info. (That is if we the registrants are able to stop any of the new .org and .info contracts this year.) If they are able to do it with one or two extensions then all others will follow sooner or later. Then .net will follow.

Then .com that is asking now to be able to raise prices 4 of the next 6 years will ask to have no price caps too.

Then the legacy registries will ask to be able to charge premium prices of certain categories of domains.

Before you know it your company or personal .com domain will cost $200 or $3,000 per year or $10,000 per year depending on what Verisign decides that you have to pay them depending on the domain name.

They will essentially confiscate your domains (that you either bought years ago or even paid thousands or millions to purchase) and make you pay them rent on them.

At this point new gtld prices are held down because of the .com and other legacy TLDs prices. If legacy domain prices get to $200 per domain per year then all domains will cost $200 or more. Or $1,000 or more.

There is little competition in all domain names as Verisign, PIR, Afilias and Neustar are basically monopolies. They have a 95% market share. It only takes these 4 companies and soon all domain names could cost $200 or $500 or more.

Then the last frontier will be the ccTLDs. ccTLDs that people in the US care very little about.

Practically these large companies are attempting to steal all our land and homes and rent them back to us. Domain names are our land and homes on the internet. This attempt is only possible with the help of ICANN and their executives that hide behind a non-profit organization while making millions in salaries and while NOT protecting the domain name registrants.

This is what they want to do and it all starts today. It all starts with .asia. It all starts with .biz, .info and .org.

I will not get into much detail here but these registries are basically monopolies and they were awarded the operation without any real bid process. Their current prices at $10+ is way too expensive. New gtld back end providers are charging $1 per domain or less. There are several companies around the world that would operate these registries at $2 or $3 per domain. PIR and Afilias have made millions from these privileged contracts in the past 20 years so it is really despicable asking for no cap price increases when in fact we the registrants we should have been asking for a huge decrease in prices.

Their arrogance and greed must backfire. And it would backfire if ICANN was a proper organization protecting the rights of the millions of registrants and not the profits of 4-5 U.S. companies. These 4-5 companies that are what they are today because of us. Us the domain name registrants since 1985.

So we now demand a tender process for all legacy extensions with a price cap not larger than $3. Enough with monopolies. At this time all legacy extensions are operated by US companies. But the internet has progressed a lot since the 90s and many companies around the world would love to have a chance to be the .org or .com registry with less than half the prices that Verisign or PIR are now charging.

Popular New gtld extensions were auctioned of for millions while the legacy extensions were simply awarded to be operated by the respective registries. Verisign paid $135 million for the rights of .web domains. How much do you think the .com registry would be auctioned today? Even if .com prices were set at $3 or $5 the high bidder registry would probably end up paying billions.

These legacy extensions were NOT created by PIR, Afilias, Neustar or Verisign. The extensions existed before these companies and will exist after these companies. These are not their extensions. They are our extensions. And by our I am talking about the registrants around the world. And some people in the US this they own the extensions. They don’t. The legacy extensions belong to the whole world.

It is not a secret that ICANN has a revolving door with the domain registries. This seems that is becoming more of an issue lately as these execs coming from legacy or new gtld registries take key positions at ICANN. Most of these executives probably have shares in these public (or not) companies making it a big conflict of interest. I have never heard if ICANN employees are not allowed to have shares or own domain name companies. This is a serious issue and it must be resolved.

All ICANN employees must disclose their shares and equity in all domain name related companies that have an agreement with ICANN. (Registries, registrars, UDRP providers, etc.)

And we also need to know the names of the ICANN employees talked with the registries about the new contracts and who decided that no price caps want a good idea and was warranted a public comment.

What I find remarkable is that ICANN wants to allow these legacy registries to have huge increases in price while at the same time they don’t even ask for the ICANN fee to even raise for example by 2 cents. (Going from $0.18 to $0.20) It makes you wonder what ICANN’s motivation is.

How does ICANN justifies these huge price increases on domain names that cost less than $1 to maintain and operate?

Is anybody at ICANN responsible for all this or are they just hiding behind the organization? Someone from ICANN must speak at last. Who is making these decisions? We want the names behind the decisions. We want accountability. ICANN is not any more protecting our interests are registrants. Things must change. Now!

This whole ICANN mess could have the effect that domain name prices are not reasonable to what the registries offer that is essentially an administrative fee. And of course the stability of the internet will be lost as prices can one day be $10 in the next 6 months could be $200 then $50 and then maybe $1,000.

So please take 5 minutes of your time and save domain names. You can find easy instructions on how to submit a comment here.

Here is my comment for .org (.info comment is very similar) today:

Stop the .org price increase and URS!

I am a .org registrant and I strongly oppose uncapped price increases in .org domains and the introduction of URS.

Shame on you ICANN for even suggesting a comment period for such despicable changes to the legacy extensions: .org (PIR), .biz (Neustar), .info (Afilias) and .asia (DotAsia Organisation Ltd. and Afilias).

How does ICANN justifies these huge price increases on domain names that cost less than $1 to maintain and operate?

Shame and disgust on the privileged registries that have made millions over the past few years from us all. Us all the domain name registrants that come from all over the world.

For .org specifically I really would like to know if this was PIR’s idea. And even if it wasn’t (which I highly doubt) then PIR should have been the one opposing this new contract. PIR is supposed to be a non-profit organization. How do they justify increasing the prices that other non-profits pay? Shame on you PIR.

“Legacy” TLDs, such as .org .net .com .biz .info and .asia, have absolutely nothing in common with all new gTLDs. Legacy extensions were created 15 to 30 years before the new gtlds and are essentially a monopoly on the internet. All 1000+ new gtlds represent less than 5% of all domains. The 10+ legacy tlds have the other 95% of the market share.

PIR, Afilias, Neustar and Neustar did not create these extensions as it happened with the New gTLDs and they certainly did not or currently have any competition.

New gTLDs companies paid millions in auctions to get the rights of these extensions.

What would happen if the legacy TLDs were put up for auction with today’s capped price increases? Other companies would pay millions to have the privilege of being one of the respective extension operator.

Popular New gtld extensions were auctioned of for millions while the legacy extensions were simply awarded to be operated by the respective registries. Verisign paid $135 million for the rights of .web domains. How much do you think the .com registry would be auctioned today? Even if .com prices were set at $3 or $5 the high bidder registry would probably end up paying billions.

These legacy extensions were NOT created by PIR, Afilias, Neustar or Verisign. The extensions existed before these companies and will exist after these companies. These are not their extensions. They are our extensions. And by our I am talking about the registrants around the world. And some people in the US this they own the extensions. They don’t. The legacy extensions belong to the whole world.

ICANN should stop catering to the big registries and pay more attention to protect the owners of .org domain names. The registries have made billions of dollars over the past 20 years. The registries are already operating a ridiculously high profit margin (65%-70% or even higher) that are not met in any other industry.

The Verisign .com monopoly reported last week a huge operating margin that was 65.4 percent for the first quarter of 2019. Instead of being grateful for this gift that it is being given all the legacy registries are asking for domain name price increases. It is time that all legacy contracts are put up for grabs for a more competitive prices. The .com extension can be operated for maybe $2 or $3 per domain and companies would pay millions to have the privilege to operate the extension at this level. Same with .org domains.

Companies would easily pay a couple of billion to operate the .com at $5 per domain for the next 6 years. Or they could easily pay 500 million to operate the .com registry at $3 per domain for the next 6 years. Yet ICANN strangely allows this Verisign, Afilias, PIR and Neustar greed and arrogance. It makes you think what “organization” ICANN has become over the past few years…

Instead of price increases with should be having price decreases on all legacy extensions including .org domains.

New domain extensions charge any price they want and they have been a disaster so far. Registries are suddenly increasing registration and renewal fees of up to 3,000%!!!! Lots of people are complaining because of this and this has already been very bad for the domain name industry’s reputation.

.Org has the right to raise prices 10% every year that already too much and well above the current inflation. Allowing huge price increases from one year to the next could ruin .org for everybody.

The .org registry or any other legacy extension operator must not be allowed to raise prices are they wish. These domain names belong to the whole world and not just these 4-5 registry companies. They are only paid to be the administrative operator and nothing more. And the current price is well above what the current price for a new gtld backend is. New gtlds backend registries are charging $1 per domain or less. These are companies like Afilias, PIR and Neustar that are now getting paid $10+ from us the world domain name registrants and yet they want a lot more. And ICANN is surprisingly willing to give them whatever they want instead of doing their job that is to protect the registrants.

Increasing .org and other legacy tld prices will be a disaster. What happens if prices go to $100 per domain or $1,000 per domain? This is about the whole effect this will have on the global. How is such a huge price increase justified?

An increase of all legacy domains (lets say about 200 million of legacy domains) from $10 to $100 per year would mean that an extra 180 BILLION dollars will go to just 4 companies over the next 10 years. 4 US companies. How is this justified?

All these domain name registrants now pay about 20 billion over 10 years.

They will have to pay 200 BILLION dollars at $100!!! Or 2 trillion at $1,000 per domain!

Greece’s gross domestic product is about 200 billion per year. We would love to take over these extensions and run a few servers around the world. This is free money.

Companies have already paid for the rights of these .org, .info or .com domains.

Any price increase would effectively mean that Afilias, Verisign or PIR would cease our domains and make us pay rent on them. This is domain name confiscation!!!

Before you know it your company or personal .org domain will cost $200 or $3,000 per year or $10,000 per year depending on what PIR decides that you have to pay them depending on the domain name.

They will essentially confiscate your domains (that you either bought years ago or even paid thousands or millions to purchase) and make you pay them rent on them.

At this point new gtld prices are held down because of the capped legacy TLDs prices. If legacy domain prices get to $200 per domain per year then all domains will cost $200 or more. Or $1,000 or more.

There is little competition in all domain names as Verisign, PIR, Afilias and Neustar are basically monopolies. They have a 95% market share. It only takes these 4 companies and soon all domain names could cost $200 or $500 or more.

Practically these large companies are attempting to steal all our land and homes and rent them back to us. Domain names are our land and homes on the internet. This attempt is only possible with the help of ICANN and their executives that hide behind a non-profit organization while making millions in salaries and while NOT protecting the domain name registrants.

We are now paying an administrative fee to these companies. An administrative is pretty much set in competitive world. New gtlds are paying $1 or less per domain. But there is no competition in these registries. They are essentially monopolies that will be able to charge us whatever they want if ICANN allows them to have no price caps.

Anything above $2 or $3 per year is already too expensive for the backend registries that Verisign, PIR, Afilias and Neustar truly are.

Finally .ORG domains don’t need the URS. There have been a lot of bad decisions under the UDRP from the unregulated UDRP providers. The URS is even worse.

Sold.Domains

About Konstantinos Zournas

Konstantinos studied Computer Engineering and Computer Science in London and lives in Athens, Greece. He loves domains and building websites. He is online since 1995, learned about html in 1996 and got into domains in 2002. He started the OnlineDomain.com blog in 2012.

33 comments

  1. I have to admit, Konstantinos, I don’t trust anything in this world now, but I would trust far less and be opposed if .com were sent outside the US. It’s bad enough that the ICANN transition from US oversight has given rise to this current possibility when there is no constraint and no accountability to anything or anyone. The US being the birthplace of both the Internet and the Domain Name System has to count for something. And yes, I was talking about the “revolving door” recently too, well worth looking into. Good point about the issue of stock investing too. Looks like it’s the human condition as usual. Follow the money…

    RAPE = Reprehensible And Pure Evil

    • Konstantinos Zournas

      No U.S. oversight was not supposed to be no oversight.
      U.S. and maybe 10-15 other countries should all have the ICANN oversight.

      • And now we have none, no oversight, combined with all the same money motives including the same kind of “revolving door” money motive we have here in the US.

  2. Maybe we need to expose the employees publicly that will get them to run for the hill.s

    This is classic backroom grease tactics, somebody is being greased here, one way or another the money has to flow from somewhere. ICANN is not for profit corporation, but a few bad apples thinking only about their golden parachute could turn the tables. Funny how the last guy ended up running Donuts, interesting, might want to review his contact logs back at the office. Time for oversight on ICANN, it can’t be trusted!

  3. Sorry, comments don’t work with ICANN.
    You think they care?? You stated as much in the article.
    It’s all garbage to them. They laugh. They ignore.
    The only way is a coordinated and serious lawsuit or governmental intervention. imo

    • Konstantinos Zournas

      Let’s do it…

    • Agree with that 100%. However…

      There was another big ominous warning along with the big bogus argument about how some country’s threatened to “balkanize” the Internet if the demand for “transition” from the US was not met.

      And that warning was not bogus, but was important and true: you don’t want governments controlling the Internet. That is the dystopian nightmare the current ICANN shenanigans is leading to. That is the spirit behind the current push to crush Julian Assange to send a message.

      Watch this genius short vid on that, btw: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1efOs0BsE0g.

      So it’s a Catch-22. You don’t want what is going on now, but you don’t want governments controlling the Internet. US oversight was not broken (yet) and didn’t need fixing, but you still had to remain ever vigilant. We do so much evil in the world ourselves it’s insane, but at least the situation with the Internet was in pretty good shape.

      So a change and a solution is needed, only with *extreme* caution and care about the details.

      Be aware, though, the dystopian nightmare will eventually come, but it’s still good to oppose and expose the darkness.

    • @Rick I think you’re right, comments against ICANN are not working.

  4. There is one other way.
    How many people actually control ICANN and their decisions?

  5. Agree with Rick 100%.

    Public Interest Registry should change it’s name to:

    Public Rape Registry

    ICANN is the most corrupt organization in the world which must be shut down and replaced with a non-corrupt non profit with proper government oversight and control.

    ICANN = ICANN’T

  6. Money talks…everything else is just bullshitttt.

    We are living in a corruption world.

    The U.S. government is more corrupt than icann.
    I know this first hand with our casino gaming business and our pain clinics.
    You have to pay off lots of government thugs to keep it going.

    Anyways, put yourself in icann shoes…
    What would you do?

    If you made easy millions with the new gtlds…

    You think you would sit there and read all the bullshittttt comments or spend time living the best life possible and make more easy free money by increasing prices.

    Getting the government involved is the biggest mistake…
    All that will happen is icann will make a side deal with the government to increase the price even more so they too can get a piece of the free pie…

    Like i said…
    Money talks…everything else is just bullshitttt.

  7. Thank you Konstantinos. Great write up to Expose these Greedy people. Please the head and pictures of these Greedy people should be posted and Greed stamped on them.

    Kudos to you and all those fighting for Us All.

  8. We were fighting this outcome years ago, when Registrants tried to get a seat at the DNS table but were denied. Not enough people took it seriously back then and we are now paying the price.

    Everyone gets a say except the people actually paying the taxes.

    ICANN’s public comments are just a whitewash so ICANN can pretend they’re listening.

  9. Wolfgang Möcklin

    This is the critical point in the march of the corporate takeover of the world. Not only the internet, because this includes free speech and comes at the same time as upload filters.

  10. As you can see, not many care.

    • Konstantinos Zournas

      Well, my original title was “wake up idiots”. I guess my first instict was correct. Domainers are not people.

      • Wow, I figured you guys would take it to the private forum and Kirikos might already be sharing his expertise there, but if this is it then things are sad indeed.

      • Konstantinos Zournas

        What guys and what private forum? I am not in any private forum.

      • There is or at least was at least one kind of elite semi-secret forum for the luminaries of the industry. It was never exactly a total secret, just an open secret people would sometimes mention. I figured you might even be in it, or in one if there is/was more than one, and certainly Rick here. At one point there was one that was written about, perhaps at Elliot’s blog, or maybe that was even the only one. The person who runs it may have commented too. I believe A. Dicker may have been in this “special” forum too.

        So I guess my original question stands then: where are the guys who know a lot more about what Rick asked about up above at a time like this? Certainly GK must care about this issue.

      • Konstantinos Zournas

        I know of a forum. I was there for one week years ago, I didn’t want to pay the yearly fee (I knew nothing about when I joined) and I was kicked out.

  11. For a few people to be rich, many have to be poor.

    This is the way the World has been run, the Internet made people who would be flipping burgers today to some extent billionaires. You think Mark Cuban didn’t get lucky with Yahoo’s stupidity.

    Icann is corruption.

    We have the traffic, do a trump, and keep saying it, and spreading it and everyone will believe it especially Mike Mann lol.

  12. What if the price goes to $10,000 for .com and other tld’s?

    The number of sites on internet is going to reduce.

    Small businesses, local shops, restaurants, and others will no longer have website.

    Educational sites, personal blogs, information sites will disappear.

    IT industry will shrink from the size of an elephant to a mouse. Millions of jobs will be lost. We can only hope not to see suicides.

    There will be bigger businesses who will easily pay $10,000 for domain renewal.

    Verisign and TLD operators will report multiple times revenue growth.

    Icann will lose $0.18 income on the millions of expired domains. It will have to cut down manpower.

    There will be plenty of lawsuits and the lawyers will make money.

    Sites like Amazon and Google will be in trouble because small internet means small business for them.

    Owning a domain will become a luxury for very few.

    In the next phase, TLD operators will introduce premium renewal for quality names such as business.com. The renewals could cost $500,000 per year.
    The great domain names that disappeared 20 years before will become available again for registration.

    The internet world will be doomed and ICANN will always be remembered for this

  13. Don’t you think this will be the foreseen rise of the dark web to the grassroot individuals who – for the most part have only known Facebook / Google / YouTube as the source of information?

  14. Everybody should be getting in touch with the registrars they do business with, with their account executives, etc, and voicing their concern DIRECTLY with these companies and their representatives. Domain owners need to stand up for their rights and let their pushback be felt. Everyone here needs to try to influence the discussion by letting their voice be heard with the registrars that do business with PIR and Verisign. Let your money speak. We can’t be silent and allow whatever ICANN and Verisign want to happen to just happen. ICA can’t do everything for us and preaching to the choir on our blogs won’t help sway much of anything. But one thing that we can do is speak directly to the companies we spend our money with, voice our concerns, and let them know how we feel. Use our influence to influence the discussion.

  15. Just as Mike Berkens the lone conveyor of common sense on this particular point said (if we give in to the demand to relinquish US oversight under the supposed threat of “balkanization” of the Internet, they can just turn around and “balkanize” later after we do that anyway):

    http://www.circleid.com/posts/20190501_vladimir_putin_signs_sovereign_internet_law/

  16. Some domainers will lose everything after having paid time and fees for twenty or more years. They will react in a very bad manner…

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