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VeriSign to raise .com, .net prices

57 billion lookups a day don't come for free

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VeriSign has announced plans to raise the price of .com and .net domain names again.

The .net price increase comes just a few weeks after the company renewed its registry contract with industry overseer ICANN.

From 15 January, 2012, the company said that it intends to charge $7.85 for a .com, up from $7.34, and added that .net fees would go up from $4.65 to $5.11.

Those are the annual wholesale prices VeriSign will charge all accredited registrars, which usually pass on registry fee increases to their customers through higher retail prices.

While the rises will have little impact on the average punter with one or two domains to his name, high-volume domain investors and businesses with large portfolios of defensive registrations – some have as many as 100,000 – could see their annual costs rise by thousands for essentially dormant domains.

Because VeriSign is contractually obliged to give six months' notice before pumping up its fees, registrants are able to lock in prices at current rates by renewing their domains for up to 10 years.

The company was given the right to raise .com prices by 7 per cent in four years of its six-year contract with ICANN, which was signed in 2006 as part of the controversial settlement of a lawsuit between the two organisations.

When the new prices come into effect, the price of a .com will have risen by $1.86, or 31 per cent, since the contract was signed.

The new increases reflect the fourth and final price increase under the current contract, which will come up for renewal next year.

The .net contract, which allows annual increases of 10 per cent, was renewed by ICANN in late June, just a few weeks ago, following a vote at its meeting in Singapore.

People who own a lot of domains often blame ICANN for not doing enough to protect consumers' interests by enabling price increases that some say amount to nothing more than profit-taking when economies of scale should lower VeriSign's costs.

VeriSign justifies its fees by pointing out that .com continues to operate at 100 per cent uptime, despite a query load that currently runs at about 57 billion lookups per day. Combined, there are over 100 million .com and .net domains registered today. ®

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