Domain registrar Namecheap reports that the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has allowed Verisign to increase the wholesale price of .com domains.
The new contract allows Verisign to charge domain registrars 7% more for .com domains per year for the next 4 years (2020-2023). Prices will then be frozen for 2 years, followed by more increases between 2026 and 2029.
In theory, within 10 years time, the price of .com domains could cost roughly 70% more than their current selling price.
A press release from ICANN states:
“While Verisign does not set retail prices for .COM domain names, the proposed amendment to the .COM RA will provide pricing certainty by limiting the potential maximum wholesale price for .COM domain names. For example, if the four standard price increases are taken in this six-year period, the maximum wholesale price for .COM domain names would be $8.39 no earlier than Oct. 26, 2020 (compared to $7.85 today), and cannot exceed $10.26 until October 2026.”
What Does This Mean for Site Owners?
It is presumed that the increased cost of .com domains for registrars be passed along to consumers, although that is not known for sure at this point.
The contract also allows for other price increases for “extraordinary” situations. So the price of .com domains could go up for consumers by more or less than 7% per year.
This agreement will not affect the cost of other top-level domains. However, .com domains are by far the most widely used. According to Namecheap, there are 359.8 million total domain names, of which 144 million are .com.
Namecheap alleges that ICANN and Verisign made these changes in secret without seeking any feedback from internet users.
The general public can provide feedback to ICANN during the public comment period, which is open through February 14. Whether or not the feedback will have any impact on this agreement remains to be seen.