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Tiered / Variable Pricing By Domain Not Forbidden in New .BIZ/INFO/ORG contracts

Vint Cerf/ICANN confirm member's interpretation of new proposed contracts



10:53 pm on Aug 24, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Vint Cerf/ICANN confirm my interpretation of .biz/info/org proposed contracts -- tiered/differential domain pricing would not be forbidden

Hi folks,

I finally got the "official" word from Vint Cerf of ICANN, "on the record", who confirmed that my interpretation is correct, that differential/tiered pricing on a domain-by-domain basis would not be forbidden under the .biz/info/org proposed contracts. This means that the registries could charge $100,000/yr for sex.biz, $25,000/yr for movies.org, etc. if they wanted to -- it would not be forbidden the way the proposed contracts are currently written. This would represent a powerful pricing weapon for registries, and a fundamental shift in possible domain name pricing, that could lead them to emulate .tv-style price schedules.

One can read the proposed contracts at:


Vint said it would be "suicide" for a registry to do it, because there'd be the 6-month notice period to raise prices and the ability for registrants to renew for up to 10 years at "old prices", that supposedly "protects" registrants. Personally, as a business, my time horizon is a lot longer than 10 years. I wonder if Vint felt introducing "SiteFinder" was suicide, too....history has shown registries will do whatever they can get away with, in order to maximize profits long-term and short-term.

I don't think Vint understands the business at all, to think that a lag of 10 years will deter a profit-maximizing registry, esp. VeriSign should it try to match this contractual precedent in .com (and history shows VeriSign will always try to get "more", especially if "another registry" is able to do something -- they used that tactic in .com renegotiations, saying various terms were already in the .net contract, for instance).

Just to show one possible future, if PIR feels pressure or has a desire to clean up porn from .org, it could announce that <snip/sex domain>.org (check its Alexa ranking) will have its renewal price be $1 billion/yr. If it takes 10 years to do it, many would wait, and it would not be considered "suicide" for PIR. Who will stand against that as "we're protecting the internet and children from porn", PIR might argue? Leaving this temptation in the contract will likely become a slippery slope, in my opinion, leading to profit-maximizing behaviour by registries to emulate .tv. Acting in the interests of their shareholders, registries are *compelled* to maximize profits.

It can be used as a political weapon, too. If a registry disagreed with the views or content of a website for which they were the registry, they could raise the renewal price to $100 billion/yr. 10 years later, that website would not exist at that address, and nothing in the contracts would forbid this pricing behaviour. More likely, it would be used for profit maximization (if Google.com is a $100 billion company, "certainly they are benefiting from their domain name, and can afford our $1 billion/yr renewal fee" one might say -- see the net neutrality debate and tiered pricing for websites that phone and cable companies are pushing....). How far away is tiered domain name pricing?

ICANN would be opening up a Pandora's Box through this contractual loophole, to not forbid .tv style pricing. The mistake would not be able to be corrected, as the contracts explicitly say that Consensus Policies do not apply to pricing issues. Since presumptive renewal exists in these new deals, the contracts are essentially going to live with ICANN forever, if approved.

If this pricing power eventually got extended to .com, nothing would prevent the renewal fee for Yahoo.com, GoDaddy.com, Google.com, Tucows.com, Business.com, Sex.com or any other domain in a registry with similar terms to reach $1 billion per year, or any other price that VeriSign or other registry operators wanted to maximize its profits (net-neutrality debate is similar, for bandwidth pricing to websites). You can imagine my VeriSignSucks.com won't last longer than 10 years, if VeriSign had the power to raise the renewal fee to $1 billion/year. :)

I believe that it is very important that this loophole be closed, in order to not create the precedent that VeriSign could later exploit for .com, and to protect registrants of .biz/org/info. If it is "suicide", as Vint suggested, then surely a registry that would supposedly never use the power would agree to remove the temptation by adding an appropriate term to the contract. A registry not willing to add that term....well, you know what they might be tempted to do later. If your business horizon is the next quarter, this won't impact you. If it's beyond 10 years, it could impact you. Can you live with that uncertainty?

ICANN went even further than the .com proposed settlement with VeriSign, and gives these registries removal of price caps "following extensive consideration and discussion" (I don't recall any such public discussion or consultation with the ICANN community and stakeholders). However, take note of ICANN's statements in the CFIT litigation regarding pricing caps on May 26th:


"in a single supplier market, price caps are, if anything, procompetitive (Mot. at 13-14);" [page 1 of the document, line 13, page 6 of all 15]

"Nowhere does CFIT address the fact that, at this point in time, all that ICANN and VeriSign have done is propose future price **limits** for .COM domain names, which cannot be implemented until the DOC approves the .COM Extension. (Mot. at 20-22.) And, as ICANN explained in its opening brief, price caps in a single supplier market are considered pro-competitive. (Mot. at 13-14.)" [page 8 of the document, line 14, page 13 of all 15]

So, you have ICANN lawyers telling the court that price caps are pro-competitive in these single supplier markets (i.e. where registries are the single suppliers for each TLD). Indeed, it is part of ICANN's mission to promote competition.

Yet, we have ICANN removing all price caps entirely on .biz, .info and .org with these proposed new contracts. Something is amiss. Wouldn't that contradict everything their lawyers said to the court?

Feel free to spread the word on the mailing lists or media, and contact Vint (vint AT google.com) or John Jeffrey (jeffrey AT icann.org) or other ICANN staffers if you want to confirm things and voice your concerns. Time is of the essence, as the public comment period ends next Monday. Registrants DO NOT know what is coming (the public comment board is almost empty), as it's the summer holidays! (typical ICANN tactic, introduce 500+ page contracts for public comment when everyone is on holiday)

Public comments can be sent using the addresses at:


(be sure to send to all 3 email addresses for all 3 contracts, and also click the link in the email ICANN will send you to authenticate your email address, otherwise your comment doesn't get received)

There are a lot of other reasons to be opposed to the proposed contracts, such as the presumptive renewal, the ability to sell traffic data, the removal of price caps, etc. I will be writing a longer document soon, but wanted to give everyone a heads-up, so that you can take appropriate action on your own now, and corroborate things independently with Vint Cerf, John Jeffrey or other ICANN people.

These are fundamentally flawed contracts, and should not be approved by ICANN. The precedents these contracts would create are ominous, even worse then the .com proposed settlement agreement (that the DoC has yet to approve). Why is ICANN even renegotiating these registry agreements, when the existing terms don't expire for several years in some cases, and the GNSO PDP process for registry services is ongoing?



[edited by: Webwork at 1:49 am (utc) on Aug. 25, 2006]


11:27 pm on Aug 24, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator webwork is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

It's is amazing that such a huge shift in policy could be moving towards adoption with so little public notice. WAKE UP PEOPLE.

In case anyone is less than perfectly clear what ICANN is proposing to allow is pricing that would result in Example.com costing $9.00 to register and BetterExample.com costing $900.00 and BestExample.com to cost $9,000.00/year to register.

Allowing prices to float make senses in a competitive marketplace - a market where there were multiple providers for a product or service. There is only one .Org provider, i.e., one central gTLD registry - the one that will set prices and capture the windfall.

Markets where there is 1 and only 1 source for a public service, such as electricity, water OR a gTLD - which I would argue is a public necessity for establishing an internet presence - have historically been the subject of managed pricing, to assure public access and affordability, and to assure the provider with a reasonable return on their investment in infrastructure and capital.

What is a gTLD if not the near equivalent of a public utility? There IS only one .Org provider registry. Ditto .Net, .Biz, .Info.

An additional problem with the model of allowing unrestricted pricing is that it comes after companies and people have invested in a given gTLD as brand. As the proposal now stands, unrestricted pricing presents the opportunity to literally "price someone off their land".

IF central registry contract does not spell out price limits then who is to say that the practice cannot or will not take hold of pricing domains to reflect "the work of others" or "present value" rather than the realistic costs of operating the gTLD? What would the cost of renewing Google.com be under this model? What about Money.com? What about your travel site? Do you have the good fortune of having a good URL by virtue of your foresight? Well, be prepared to pay for the good judgment.

Do you remember what a domain name cost when there was only NetworkSolutions to pay? Are you ready for round II?

Allowing unrestricted pricing is likely one of the worst ideas to come along. It amounts to allowing an after the fact land grab by the central registry. It gives the central registry the ability to tax, by renewal charge, a company out of business. It can be employed in an extortionate manner, as such extortion would "be legal" by contract.

This is a soundly bad idea and one that should not stand. gTLDs are a monopoly and should be regulated as such.

I suggest that all webmasters, business operators, domain registrants and even future domain registrants voice their concern about this misguided notion that any monopoly will act with restraint.

[edited by: Webwork at 11:32 pm (utc) on Aug. 24, 2006]


11:44 pm on Aug 24, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Network Solutions just posted public comments on the issues/concerns:


Very polished and well written, and a good model for other organizations' comments.


12:00 am on Aug 25, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

This is one of the most frightening things I have ever read. This should be on the front page of WW as a highlighted post for maximum exposure. Comments close on the ICANN site on August 28th so there is little time to express views.

[edited by: Tomseys at 12:04 am (utc) on Aug. 25, 2006]


12:02 am on Aug 25, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I actually tried to submit a slightly less technical version (more accessible to the masses) to Slashdot yesterday, but it got rejected within 10 minutes. Obviously great editors over there! :)

[edited by: GeorgeK at 12:03 am (utc) on Aug. 25, 2006]


12:03 am on Aug 25, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member leosghost is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

ICANN must reverse this ..it's naive.. it's insane ..


12:56 am on Aug 25, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member vincevincevince is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

I really like this and hope it is extended to other TLDs as well. What a great way to take the sting out of domain squatting and resales.

No squatter will fork out 10,000 for a domain name renewal when he's only looking at a sale price of 20,000.


1:06 am on Aug 25, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member leosghost is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

If GeorgeK permits ( he owns the copyright on his post ) <snip> I will be translating the basics of the issue posted by GeorgeK into french and posting to relevant french webmaster fora with links back to here during the weekend ..

I would suggest that all members that can translate the salient parts and link back do so to notify their own countries webmaster communities ..

I would suggest also that members contact via email or phone ( snail mail letters will take too long ..maybe use snail mail as follow up ..and tell them they are coming ) their elected officials ( in all countries ..maybe political pressure to lobby ICANN might help ) etc and try to get this out to the non net media ..press radio and TV etc ..and as many other fora etc as possible..

This is not a call to mount an attack on the entity we know as ICANN ..but upon this particular policy decision ..this decision ..if taken will be wrong and dangerous and would change the face of the internet and potentially allow a handfull of registrars or those who could influence them to limit freedom of expression in a fundemental way ..

As stated ..comments are open at the ICANN til August 28th ..do not let this happen without expressing your opinion ..get in contact with your elected officials in your respective countries ..do the same with your media ..newspapers , radio and TV ..now ..pick up the phone and write emails ..post on fora ..any fora ..webmaster or tech ..whatever ..post on this item anywhere ..link back to here ..this thread ..and register your disapproval at the ICANN site and anywhere else you can ..explain it simply to your family and friends and anyone who'll listen ..in any language ..now ..before it's too late ..

otherwise one day your online voice or your online business or your online opinion might get domaine name renewal priced right out from under you ..

this must be stopped ..

thanks to GeorgeK for the heads up ..

and we all have 3 days only to try to make this front page news on CNN , BBC , TF1 , whatever ..etc

ICANN must rethink this ..

we are supposed to all be good at marketing and promotion here ..so ..

Monday is the 28th ..so do something concrete ..now ..before it's too late ....

dont leave it to the other guy ..the more noise we make the more chance of getting this insanity stopped ..

[edited by: Webwork at 1:14 am (utc) on Aug. 25, 2006]
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[1][edit reason] Tidying up, just a little [/edit]


1:11 am on Aug 25, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator webwork is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

I been waiting for that idea to surface VVV, the one about "Hurrah! This will be the end of those domain pirates and bounty hunters!"

Here's the rub: In the past the only pirates you had to deal with those whom laid claim to a bounty before you did. Now the pirates you will have to face are the central registry pirates, who will lay claim to everyone's domain names, and the central registry pirates may just take a liking to the domain names that you - VVV are currently operating.

Whose to say that, in an unrestricted pricing market of a monopoly service provider - one with whom you have no bargaining power - that they will not use some secret sauce formula to place a value on your domain name? Why, they can do it algorithmically: PR + IBL + total pages (using up all that registry space) + email accounts + Alexa rank + Pages in G index + Affiliate links + xyz = Renewal Price For Domain.

Of course, a central registry with unrestricted pricing power would never consider such variables, right? However, they might just set a nice high price by pulling it out of the air and end up keeping the domain, parking it, raking in the PPC revenue and taking a few more trips a year to nicer locales for domain conferences. No, that would never happen.

Be careful what you wish for VVV. This one is going to touch on everyone. You too VVV. Maybe you worse.

[edited by: Webwork at 1:17 am (utc) on Aug. 25, 2006]


1:19 am on Aug 25, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Exactly... They can make pricing however they want.

[edited by: Tomseys at 1:30 am (utc) on Aug. 25, 2006]


1:21 am on Aug 25, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

It's fine by me if folks want to translate the article and link back here. You should properly attribute it to me (George Kirikos).

I wrote a slightly less technical version of the article for Slashdot, that got rejected. I'll post it below, if folks want to target things to a mass audience.


"Tiered pricing coming to top-level domain names?"

Imagine, you've built a great website, and are on top of the world due to all the incoming visitors and sales revenues. Your competitors envy you, as do your neighbours. Your online brand has become very valuable, and when people think of widgets, the first website that comes to mind is your site. Life is good.

You open the mail, though, and see a renewal notice for your domain name that is $75,000/yr, instead of the $10/yr that you were used to. You call up your registrar, thinking "this must be a typo". But, instead, you are told, "due to the success and high value you are receiving from your domain, the renewal fee really is $75,000/yr."

Sounds impossible and outlandish? Not so, if proposed new top-level domain contracts [webmasterworld.com] are approved by ICANN.

With parallels to the network neutrality debate, ICANN [icann.org] is set to approve new registry agreements for .biz, .info and .org that do not forbid differential/tiered pricing on a domain-by-domain basis [webmasterworld.com]. The public comment period [icann.org] ends on Monday.

When ICANN's Board approved a highly controversial new .com agreement [yro.slashdot.org] with VeriSign [verisign.com] earlier in 2006 (which thankfully the Department of Commerce has yet to approve) as settlement for the SiteFinder lawsuit, other registries wanted to get the same spoils that VeriSign received, including www.cavebear.com/cbblog-archives/000263.html (presumptive renewal) and the ability to raise domain prices. VeriSign's price increases for .com would be capped at 7% per year, though. These new proposed contracts leapfrog VeriSign, and shockingly propose to remove all pricing caps entirely. The only protection existing domain registrants would have is the 6-month notice period, and the ability to renew their domains at the old price for up to 10 years from the present.

A loophole in the contract, which ICANN has confirmed exists [webmasterworld.com] would go even further and create an ominous scenario, though. It would not forbid registries from charging different renewal or registration prices on a tiered/differential domain-by-domain basis. This would be comparable to the .TV registry [tv] pricing model. Thus, for example, the renewal fee for Sex.biz could be raised to $100,000/yr, for movies.info $25,000/yr, for Google.org $1 million/yr, and so on -- whatever would maximize the profits of registries.

Registries have seen what DSL and cable companies are trying to do, to break network neutrality [en.wikipedia.org] and charge discriminatory prices to maximize their profits at the expense of website operators (for example, charge higher rates to Google or Yahoo or Microsoft, for access to their subscriber base, knowing that Google, Yahoo and Microsoft are very profitable). Registries are very shrewd, and these new contracts would not forbid them from discriminatory pricing to emulate what ISPs would like to do.

If these flawed contracts are approved for .biz, .info, and .org, it would not be a huge leap to think that VeriSign might take advantage of the precedent, and attempt to achieve the same pricing power for .com and .net through future contractual negotiations with an ICANN that has routinely failed to protect domain registrants' interests.

Network Solutions CEO Champ Mitchell said that the .com deal "shocks the conscience [thewhir.com]." These new contracts are infinitely worse, and create dangerous new precedents. Read over the contracts and public comments yourself, and then tell ICANN whether these new changes are acceptable to you [icann.org]. The deadline for comments is Monday.

[edited by: Webwork at 1:39 am (utc) on Aug. 25, 2006]
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[1][edit reason] Tidying up, just a little [/edit]


1:23 am on Aug 25, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member vincevincevince is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

Webwork, you make a good point. You don't seem to realise that most of us would rather pay over-the-odds to the TLD contract holder than pay it to Joe squatter.

Why? Because then you have a level playing field. All good domains will be expensive, not just squatted ones.

I can only see good in this proposal. If you want nicename.com and plan to run a few PPC ads and do no promotion then it would be better that you take long-not-so-nice-name.com and leave the serious domain names to those with serious business plans.

If I'm not making enough to justify inflated fees for my domain names I hold then I'd appreciate the wake-up call. Remember that nobody will register a domain name if the cost of the domain name is more than it is worth to them.

As to high pricing for corporate-named domains such as Google.org (as suggested by George) there is no competition for the domain name as nobody else but Google can legitimately register it. Hence a high price could not be supported and the domain would either go cheap to Google or remain unregistered.

[edited by: vincevincevince at 1:26 am (utc) on Aug. 25, 2006]


1:25 am on Aug 25, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

The biggest problem here is the amount of people who have invested sweat and money into developing their domains over the past years.

Did we really think we could keep them as long as we renewed?

I suspect a market could sort this out, but there's no reason to see. This is bad news.


2:07 am on Aug 25, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

As to high pricing for corporate-named domains such as Google.org (as suggested by George) there is no competition for the domain name as nobody else but Google can legitimately register it. Hence a high price could not be supported and the domain would either go cheap to Google or remain unregistered.

Yes, because of trademark issues nobody could use Google.com but that doesn't mean that the registrar couldn't hold the domain hostage. Not having the domain name registered is AS BAD AS somebody else registering it.

Don't want to pay $100,000 for Google.com? Fine We'll let it sit idle. Ah. You do want to pay it. I thought so. . . There are better ways to deal with squatters than this. This is terrible.


2:15 am on Aug 25, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator webwork is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

You don't seem to realise that most of us would rather pay over-the-odds to the TLD contract holder than pay it to Joe squatter.

"Hey, I don't like variable pricing but . . it's okay if the pirate is a registrar." Makes sense to me, from a certain point of view.

VVV, I do understand that sentiment perfectly. You have the perfect remedy available to you since you don't have to pay a domain registrant, if you don't wish. The heck with him or her. You can pick any domain that's available and likely pay only <$10.00 for the privilege or right or whatever.

However, under the new pricing model the very fact that you express an interest in any unregistered version of a domain may become the occassion for placing a premium on the domain.

Alternatively, you won't know the price for a domain - like you now do at most "fixed price registrars" - until you enter the domain name choice into the "set the price as you go" system. Makes it easy to plan, doesn't it?

In the simplest case all you accomplish VVV - IF you don't care for aftermarket variable domain pricing - is validating the variable pricing model by your argument. "I'll go for it with them but I won't go for it with them." So, it really IS about them isn't it VVV, it's not about pricing? Someone beat you in the competition and got what you desire, so screw everyone so long as "they" get screwed?

Sorry VVV, but you can't have my domain, my house, my wife or my dog . . . unless you are prepared to pay me handsomely. Can live with that model?

No, VVV, it's not okay if the pirate is a registrar. It's much worse since in that scenario every domain is a pirated domain and every domain transaction is with a pirate. Worse, every domain currently registered by anyone - pirate or not - would now be subject to itself being pirated.

I think a lot of people would rather know that their existing domain names will be costing at renewal time than you VVV.

Those for whom the greater pleasure is to cut off their nose to spite their face, including those for whom it's okay for a registry to raise the Jolly Roger but no one else, I have a nose slicing sword here in my scabbard . . .

[edited by: Webwork at 2:47 am (utc) on Aug. 25, 2006]


2:24 am on Aug 25, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

A fundamental premise of good business is being able to plan. We will now have no idea how much we will have to pay for the right to develop a decent domain. Stability is in the interests of the webmastering community.

I suppose one could (wrongly) look at this the way governments tax land at variable rates. Governments have the right to put a variable tax on land. But they are accountable (in democracies at any rate) and are liable to get the boot if they get too extortionate. This model is more akin to a king confiscating land on a whim. It's not a system that I want to live in.

In-bound-links, search engine rankings, and brand awareness of a domain are things that the webmasters develop and they should therefore have the right to reap the rewards from them. Squatters can be dealt with in other ways.


2:29 am on Aug 25, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

What do you mean by squatters can be dealt with in other ways?

Are you talking about domain registrants who choose to park their domains for ppc revenue and do not wish to sell you a domain for a price you think is right?

[edited by: Tomseys at 2:32 am (utc) on Aug. 25, 2006]


2:41 am on Aug 25, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

PIR should charge $1 billion/ year renewal charge for ICANN.org domain. Then they will understand the pain of their stupid acts.


2:48 am on Aug 25, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member vincevincevince is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

Good points well made, especially from Webwork. It might seem that it's an either squatters or registrar overpricing, no win situation.

That simplistic view ignores the fact that variable pricing could wipe out squatters. With squatters gone there's only one enemy left to deal with - the registrar.

Action against registrars on various footings are almost certainly possible through legal means or by boycotts or under threat of failure to renew contract. One enemy can be sued, you'd have a job taking a case against all known squatters.

Would you rather wage war against one big enemy or numerous smaller independent enemies?

Personally I'd favour an approach which saw variable domain pricing, but with the profits given to charity instead of the pockets of the registrar. Perhaps an auction style with Sale Price - Base Price -> Charity.

[edited by: vincevincevince at 2:49 am (utc) on Aug. 25, 2006]


2:49 am on Aug 25, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member leosghost is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

I now have a few hundred domain names ( not all the low hanging fruit is gone ..just needs imagination to find it even the generic and the really prized regional and country ones ;-) ..

not one of them is parked on anyones PPC system ..

they each will be developed into a site when I or my family get around to each one ..

they arent "squatted" just because I got them first or am doing nothing with them for now ..what I choose to devote my 24 hours per day to is my business ..today it was chopping fire wood for winter ..tomorrow will be walking along the beach with my family ( and now finishing an urgent translation )..no one has the right to say that I am at fault for not putting sites up on names as fast as they would like ..my time is my own ..

so are my domain names ..all of them ..those which are running sites on them ..and those that I haven't gotten around to yet ..and any others I may buy / register in the future ..

and I dont want to be paying $10.000.oo a time to renew each of them just because someone or some registrar didn't have the smarts to get them first ..or thinks it's a good idea to let some registrar take them off me or price me off of them ..sour grapes and jealousy is not a rational motive for wishing for this ICANN proposal to go through ..

there can be no rational argument in favour of this proposal ..


2:52 am on Aug 25, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

That is such a bogus and offensive term. The term squatter usually implies something illegal. There is nothing illegal in using a parking service or not resolving the domain at all once one has successfully registered a domain name. The registrant may do as they wish - develop it, park it, not resolve it, in any sequence as long as actions don't break laws and as long as they continue to renew the domain.

If you are talking about cybersquatters, people registering trademark domains and the like, then yes, this is bad and there are mechanisms to deal with this.


2:57 am on Aug 25, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Hmmm. Business loves stability. I bet you are going to see business signing side contracts with the registrars locking in the rates and paying a premium for it.

So instead of paying less for registering domains for longer periods, you might have companies agreeing to pay more to lock in the rate for longer terms (to avoid being blackmailed by registrars at a later day).

As it is Google pays the same $10.00 that we do for its domain (at least I believe that is true). So instead Google will come up with a side agreement to pay $1000.00 a year for the next 50 years. A small price to pay for that guarantee of stability.


3:06 am on Aug 25, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator webwork is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

That simplistic view ignores the fact that variable pricing could wipe out squatters.

Why would central registry variable pricing do that?

It seems to me that your desired outcome - of wiping out squatters - would only work IF the pricing model was so disproportionate to value that value could not be realized by domain registrants. Otherwise, why release them?

I guess what you are talking about VVV is punitive pricing? "Punish those darned domain holders! Price them out of business!"?

Here's the rub: How do you discriminate? What happens when a squatter puts up a website? Does that make him/her good and therefore the price should go down . . or up, because greater value is realized in use?

I guess one of the outcomes of your proposition VVV might be that only the very rich could ever register a desirable web address. Such thinking seems like a less than perfect fit for the .Org TLD, don't you think?

Perhaps VVV, you might come up with a pricing model that works for domains? Perhaps one that is based upon the actual, realistic costs of running a central registry, charged with managing a public trust? Would that make sense?

Or would you prefer that the registry not only have a monopoly but a very lucrative one?

Other than your punitive thinking pricing model - which I hope I've made clear won't really work to anyone, but the registry's advantage - I don't quite understand your support for a different pricing proposition, than the current one. Especially since I haven't been reading about any central registries going broke lately.

Indeed it seems that only slight increases in central registry charges can be quite revenue positive. That's not too hard to understand when you multiply 1 million+ gTKD registrations by $.25. With monopoly math like that you get a very large number.

Bottom line: gTLD registries need to be treated as the "monopoly of a public trust" that they were created to be and still remain.

[edited by: Webwork at 4:52 am (utc) on Aug. 25, 2006]


4:13 am on Aug 25, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

In the case of .BIZ and .INFO --- I have to give a hearty "who cares"... the names are virtually worthless (especially if the name exists in the .COM tld).

".ORG" in the other hand is a strange one to lump in.

Back in the day, people actaully followed the charter reasons for the TLDs.

My own business, "EXAMPLE Corp." had two functions;

1). A network with infrastructure for domain hosting, dial-up and server co-location.

2). A service division that did design and programming.

My servers used NS.EXAMPLE.NET for DNS, etc.

My company website existed at EXAMPLE.COM

... as I said, that was back in the day --- it didn't take long for someone to register EXAMPLE.BIZ, EXAMPLE.INFO, EXAMPLE.XYZ... etc.

Anyway, if they are going through with this, I hope ICANN will also start rescinding the registrations of entities who register in the wrong TLD, especially when the only reason they do it is "because the .COM and .NET (names) were already taken".

Again, I say "Who cares"... if it ain't a .COM, it's barely worth registering.

The original batch (.MIL, .GOV, .NET, .COM, .EDU and .ORG) and the two letter country codes were enough.

I don't bother registering anything but .COM names anymore unless a customer's site actually belongs in another TLD and they want that also, (ie if EXAMPLESCHOOL.COM wants EXAMPLESCHOOL.EDU).


4:23 am on Aug 25, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I may have got this wrong? but people here are saying this is a good thing as it will cut down on squatters?

how about the average low to middle income or indeed simple fan sites or personal sites.. if they have a domain of decent value they will now have to 0000's to renew their domain? I'm sure i must have got that wrong...

That would lead to bigger companies monopoly of domains and complete kill the internet..

And personally I buy up the .net .co.uk .org .anything of my important domains to protect the brand, and advice any clients to do the same.. is this now going to be prohibitive...

I think this is a shocking move..

There are already structures in place to deal with squatting this has nothing to go with that ...

I've got over 100 domains, not a great deal .. I treat it like a hobby, and have sold enough to make it worthwhile, but still just fun .. this is going to wipe out my fun ..

I think this is far more sinister than is being disclosed.. I don't think it is coincidence that is not widely publised ..

Can't understand anyone that thinks this is a good idea..

[edited by: Lobo at 4:34 am (utc) on Aug. 25, 2006]


4:25 am on Aug 25, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

As for the "Google", "Yahoo" and "Microsoft" type registrants, they have nothing to fear --- price is moot when they own a trademark.

If a registrar tried to get Microsoft to pay $1M each for "Microsoft.biz" or "Microsoft.org", (both of which Microsoft does hold registrations on), and the basic rate was $9/yr, the registrar would quickly become a defendant in an MS-Lawsuit... or at least be out the $18 they could get legally.


5:27 am on Aug 25, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Lobos wrote:

I may have got this wrong? but people here are saying this is a good thing as it will cut down on squatters?

Yes, you have got it wrong. Everybody here is strongly against this except for one member.


6:06 am on Aug 25, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

price is moot when they own a trademark.

Why? IANAL, but I'm not sure trademarks come in to this.

The registrar would say to MSFT, if you want to renew microsoft.org, the price is $1m. If you choose not to renew, that's OK too. It's not 'cybersquatting' if the registrar has been given the authority by ICANN to set pricing as they wish. The registrar is NOT trying to sell something to MSFT, they're just charging MSFT a lot of money for the pleasure of hanging on to something.

If MSFT didn't renew microsoft.org and then SOMEONE ELSE grabbed it, then MSFT could of course send their trademark lawyers round.


7:13 am on Aug 25, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

If MSFT didn't renew microsoft.org and then SOMEONE ELSE grabbed it, then MSFT could of course send their trademark lawyers round.


Additionally, (and IANAL either), I think a case could be made to sue the registrar for selling another party a domain that is a registered trademark -- at a minimum, if you throw "knowingly, willingly and for montary gain" into the mix and that would make the registrar a party to the suit.

There are laws for "receiving stolen property", for being an "accessory before the fact", and I'm sure any half-decent lawyer could come up with a few more that would relate.


7:55 am on Aug 25, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

To those you throw out the argument that established companies have the money to pay at renewal tme (i.e. Google.com), what about those companies at the tipping point who have spent years developing a brand and will soon reap the fruit of that brand they built but do not yet have the cash flow to pay a pirate registrar pricing model?

Stocks are priced on expected future earnings. It is not a far stretch to imagine domain names priced on the same expectations.

This could have a chilling effect on innovation. If you cannot own and are constantly punished by your landlord because every improvement you make to the property raises your rent, then you will soon move out. Since the same thing will happen in the next property and the next you will simply not bother improving the property.

Outside of trademark law, are there any legal concepts that would protect someone from this sort of carpet bagging? I can understand widget.com having an inherent value because of the terms's meaning, but if you create a brand name (say google.com) why should a 3rd party be able to extort you because you successfully turned nothing into something?

SIDEBAR: Nevermind 1984, Atlas Shrugged gets more realistic everyday.

This 135 message thread spans 5 pages: 135

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