Pros and cons: the price threshold for .org is still canceled

ICANN has allowed the Public Interest Registry registrar in charge of the .org domain zone to independently regulate domain prices. We discuss the opinions of registrars, IT companies and non-profit organizations that have been expressed recently.

Photos - Andy Tootell - Unsplash

Why did you change the conditions

According to ICANN representatives, they canceled the .org price threshold for “administrative purposes.” The new rules will put the domain zone for organizations on a par with commercial ones.

Prices for the latest registrars are free to set yourself.

They say that this way the domain market will become more homogeneous, and their prices will self-regulate due to the competition of registrars. ICANN is confident that the decision will help attract additional funding (the organization regularly collects contributions from registrars).

According to The Register, there are more than 10 million domains in the .org zone, and even a slight increase in the base rate will bring significant revenue growth.

There are those who advocated

Representatives of PIR and several other registrars supported the decision. For example, support was given by the former vice president of Verisign (the registrar in charge of .com). According to her, healthy competition will allow .org to expand its audience and increase the market share of the domain zone, which today barely exceeds 5%.

It is also believed that price increases in the .org zone will put an end to the practice of cybersquatting , when people cheaply buy a lot of domains that are directly or indirectly related to a particular trademark, and then resell them to the owners of the rights (to TM) for disproportionate money.

But most are against

Most IT companies do not agree with the decision and call it ill-conceived and irresponsible. Analysts interviewed thousands ( here and here ) of non-profit organizations, registrars and Internet users - more than 98% of them opposed ICANN.

Namecheap , one of the largest registrars in the world, sent an official letter to ICANN requesting a review of its decision. Representatives of the registrar say that removing price thresholds will negatively affect the work of public organizations - it will be difficult for them to predict the cost of maintenance. As a result, registrars themselves will suffer - customers simply refuse to renew domains.

ICANN responded to the criticism with the words that the new rules and competition, on the contrary, will better regulate prices in the domain name market. However, the organization did not provide economic justification to support its claim. Moreover, according to The Register, among the four hundred employees of the organization there is not a single economist at all.

Experts note that an idea with competition could work if companies constantly changed domains, and this practice was in the order of things. But this process is often expensive and time consuming. Not to mention the fact that a domain name is part of a company’s brand, the loss of which has far-reaching consequences. For example, when the portal changed its domain name to, its traffic immediately fell by 20% .

The non-profit organizations Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and Internet Commerce Association (ICA), which protect the rights of domain owners, also opposed ICANN. They say that such decisions should be preliminarily discussed by ICANN with the IT community.

Photos - Gemma Evans - Unsplash

Alignment issues have arisen even within ICANN. The board of directors did not formally vote on this issue. According to insiders, all decisions were made by employees of the organization, and management did not interfere with their activities. However, it is believed that in this way representatives of the organization are trying to shift responsibility.

Another unpopular decision by ICANN

In addition to the abolition of price thresholds in .org, ICANN plans ( p. 82 ) to introduce URS (Uniform Rapid Suspension System) mechanisms in this domain zone. They will allow companies to quickly deal with cybersquatters by sending a corresponding application to the registrar.

But members of the Electronic Frontier Foundation have already opposed this decision. Nonprofits often use brand names in .org domains to draw public attention to the issues involved. However, the time for consideration of claims in the URS is too short to thoroughly understand the situation. Thus, this mechanism risks becoming a peremptory control tool by large corporations.

If ICANN continues to make unpopular decisions, it is likely that it will have to face a series of lawsuits. The author of the Domain Name Wire blog is convinced that such claims are inevitable if the organization does not change course in the near future.

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