ICANN recently ended the consultation into the future of the .com domain price freezes that came about in the Obama-era. This could mean the price of .com addresses increase by $2 by the end of 2026 and even more in the years following.
Verisign, since 2012, has had the exclusive right to sell .com domains. Since then, the price has been frozen at $7.85. ICANN and Verisign are planning to undo the freeze so that Verisign can increase the price of .com domains 4 out of the next 6 years. ICANN is also looking at allowing Verisign to operate its own registrar for other domains, which will put it in competition with other DNS businesses.
Verisign will be able to increase the price of .com names by 7% in 4 of the next 6 years. This could mean that the price increases to US $10.26 by 2026. However, existing owners will be allowed to lock in existing prices for 10 years and will be given advanced notice.
The changes mean that Verisign will be brought in line with other domain registrars, so it can operate as a TLD and act as a registrar. Before, Verisign could not compete at all. But now the rule will apply only to .com and not to any other domains it offers.
Namecheap and the Internet Commerce Association, which represents companies like GoDaddy, have publically objected to the deal. The argument is that Verisign basically has a monopoly on .com names, and the actual cost to process a DNS registration is less than $3, the company will be given the room to operate in an uncompetitive manner.
Verisign’s profits are expected to increase by about $800 million as a result of the price hikes. And ICANN will receive $20 million from the new deal, spread over 5 years. ICANN reports that it will use this money to “preserve and enhance the security, stability, and resiliency of the DNS”