Public Interest Registry, operator of .org, has put its back-end registry services contract up for grabs.
The deal could be worth around $33 million a year, judging by its current relationship with incumbent back-end Afilias.
PIR said in a statement today:
The organisation desires to contract with a qualified back-end registry services provider that shares a similar reputation and holds itself to the highest operational and ethical standards. The selected back-end registry service provider should be a “valued business partner” – an organisation that combines outstanding qualifications in service delivery with the ability to engage Public Interest Registry in a business relationship that seeks strategic and innovative approaches to enhance the capability and efficiency of service delivery.
The contract was actually supposed to end in January, according to the Internet Society resolution that approved it back in 2010.
According to PIR’s most recent available tax return (pdf), Afilias was paid $33.2 million in 2014.
It was paid $31 million in 2013 when its total revenue for the year we know to be $77 million. So it’s a pretty big deal for Afilias.
The payments are mainly, but not exclusively, for domain name registry services, according to PIR’s tax returns.
Afilias also operates a few additional services related to PIR’s expansion in the non-governmental organization market, such as a database of NGOs used for validation purposes.
But if we over-simplify things, a roughly $33 million annual payout for a 10-million-domain zone works to something in the ballpark of $3 per name per year.
Given some of the numbers I’ve heard thrown around over the last few years, I expect there are a few back-end providers out there that would be more than happy to offer a cheaper deal.
It will be the first time Afilias has had to fight for the .org contract since 2010, thought PIR has done a couple of analyses over the last few years to make sure it’s getting a fair deal in line with market prices.
Since 2010 the number of back-end registry providers has exploded due to the advent of the new gTLD program, so there will be more competition for the .org contract.
That said, none of the new providers are yet proven at the scale of .org, which has over 10.6 million names at the last count.
PIR expects to award the contract before December 2016.
Interested vendors have until March 5 to express their interest on this web site.