ICANN ignores community input and agrees to lift price restrictions on .org domains.
As many feared, the comment period was just a formality.
ICANN has agreed to remove price restrictions on .org domain names, letting the domain’s manager, Public Interest Registry, charge as much as it wants for the domains. (It also agreed to let .info manager Afilias charge whatever it wants for .info.)
This is despite only six out of over 3,000 comments being in favor of removing price caps.
You can blame two things: ICANN wanting to make its life easier with a misguided attempt to make its registry agreements similar, and regulatory capture.
ICANN’s decision foreshadows that the organization will agree to .com price increases. Eventually, caps on .com domains could disappear.
10 million .org domains are currently registered and were registered under a system in which Public Interest Registry could not increase prices at will. Now, non-profits and other organizations that have been using these domains for years could face steep price increases.
The good news is that Public Interest Registry’s management is competent and well-guided. They will likely wait a while before making any major changes to avoid comments of “we told you so”.
But management changes. Boards change. And one day, it could get ugly.
It will be interesting to see if any parties consider antitrust challenges.
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