George Kirikos : Verisign’s profits the result of a “sweetheart deal” with ICANN

Verisign – Registry for .NET

Domain investor, George Kirikos, has been voicing his concerns about the ICANN procedures openly, for years.

The ongoing renewal of the Verisign contract for .NET domains has been open to comments, and Kirikos made sure his valid points are heard.

“My company is opposed to the proposed contract,” said George Kirikos.

“In particular, rather than being renewed, there should be regular tender processes for operation of the registry for a fixed term, as is standard procedure for procurement contracts.”

Referring to the ongoing relationship between ICANN and Verisign as a “sweetheart deal,” Kirikos stated:

“Consumers have already been harmed to the extent of tens of millions of dollars per year. And this harm increases year after year with the 10% annual price increases that are permitted, which far exceed inflation.

ICANN now proposes to increase this annual harm from tens of millions of dollars per year to hundreds of millions of dollars per year.”

Further crunching the numbers of how the maximum annual price increase of 10% affects domain investors and benefits the pockets of Verisign, Kirikos said:

After 6 more years of 10% annual price increases, consumers could be facing registry fees of:

2018: $9.02/yr
2019: $9.92/yr
2020: $10.91/yr
2021: $12.00/yr
2022: $13.20/yr
2023: $14.52/yr

(of course, those are the fees to registrars, who would then pass them along to consumers with an additional margin; registrars face competition amongst other registrars)

Compared to $2/yr, a $14.52/yr fee on 15 million domains represents a loss to consumers of $187.8 million PER YEAR ($12.52/yr x 15 million).

In his closing statement, George Kirikos is lobbying for the competitive reconsideration of the .NET deal, among other capable providers such as Afilias, Neustar, Nominet, Google and Amazon.

“As ICANN appears incapable of negotiating in the public interest, it is time for this anti-competitive and anti-consumer contract to be set aside on anti-trust grounds by the relevant national authorities.”

Clearly a state of affairs that should concern everyone involved in the domain industry.

Deadline for comments is May 30th so make your voice heard now.

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