Registrar Firms Oppose ICANN-VeriSign Agreement

Domain registrars are seeking to derail the agreement before the U.S. Department of Commerce approves the deal.

March 2, 2006

2 Min Read
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Domain registrars are seeking to derail the new agreement between VeriSign and the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) before the U.S. Department of Commerce approves the deal.

"We are bitterly disappointed, but we're not giving up yet," said Bob Parsons of leading domain name registrar in a statement Wednesday. "I personally don't have a problem with VeriSign making a fair profit, but that's not what we're talking about here. I have a big problem with VeriSign's windfall profits being accomplished outside of the free enterprise system in which the rest of us must compete."

In a split decision, ICANN's directors agreed to settle a lengthy dispute with VeriSign, which is the official operator for the .COM registry. Board chairman Vint Cert, the Internet pioneer who is often called the "father of Web," led the voting in favor of the settlement. He currently is Google's "chief Internet evangelist".

The agreement now goes to the Commerce Department and opposition is already developing in Congress, led by Rep. Rick Boucher, D-Va., who had complained of the proposed agreement's "serious anti-competitive implications."

In noting that the agreement with VeriSign involves the .COM generic top-level domain (TLD), ICANN said it looks forward to a "new and productive relationship" with VeriSign.Another registrar, BulkRegister, complained that the new revised agreement will give VeriSign the power to raise .COM domain registration fees by 7 percent in four of the next six years.

"According to a rough analysis by BulkRegister of the potential financial impact of the revised deal, the original agreement would have generated $3.43 billion in potential cumulative revenues for VeriSign by 2012, as compared to $3.29 billion under the current revised terms -- a decrease of only $140 million."

"The revised agreement also gives VeriSign unprecedented control of the .COM registry by allowing it to automatically renew its management of the registry in 2012 without first going through a competitive bidding process."

VeriSign said the new .COM agreement is "straightforward and closely follows the .NET registry agreement… approved last year" by ICANN and the Commerce Department. The company added that it will continue to build and invest in the infrastructure of the Internet.

Along with Cert, ICANN directors voting in favor of the agreement with VeriSign were Alejandro Pisanty, Mouhamet Diop, Demi Getschko, Hagen Hultzsch, Veni Markovski, Vanda Scartezini, Paul Twomey, and Hualin Qian. Directors who opposed the agreement were Raimondo Beca, Susan Crawford, Joichi Ito, Njeri Riongo and Peter Dengate Thrush. Director Michael Palage abstained.0

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