There is a lot of grief going on regarding the ICANN agreement to remove wholesale pricing caps for Verisign’s .COM registry. Let’s get something very quickly out of the way before we dive deeper into the conversation. Per the agreement there actually still are caps.
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Verisign and ICANN may agree to amend the .COM Registry Agreement to permit an increase to the price for .COM registry services, up to a maximum of 7 percent in each of the final four years of each six-year period (the first six-year period commenced on October 26, 2018).
Given the restrictions under the proposed Amendment 3 on the wholesale price charged by Verisign to registrars for .COM registry services, if all price increases are taken (excluding Policy/S&S Increases), the initial and renewal price for a .COM domain name registration cannot exceed $10.26 (US) until October 2026.
Let’s dive deeper, for an annual service that provides an insane amount of value, (note that the $10.26 maximum is for wholesale i.e. registrars not consumers!) the end customer who may already be paying $15+ per year may have to pay a few dollars more. Electricity prices go up, gas prices go up, ISP and hosting prices go up. The complaints from registrars that are basically printing money off of domain names are hard to swallow. So yes, they may have to keep their pricing in-line with any .COM inflation. As it is, preferred .COMs are already impossible to get directly, the secondary market is huge for that exact reason. Will squatters rethink holding onto huge portfolios? Maybe, and that’s a good thing. It would be great to have many domains returned to the pool where people and companies may actually utilize the. The final thought, is it wrong to demand that registrars find a way to make the insane profit they already accrue by improving services rather than living off of large portfolios of unused domains?