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Registry bosses to talk ICANN “tax cuts” at private meeting

Kevin Murphy, September 5, 2017, 13:45:07 (UTC), Domain Registries

The CEOs of 20 or more gTLD registries are due to meet privately this month to discuss, among other things, the possibility of a reduction in their ICANN fees.

The Registry CEO Summit is being held in Seattle at the end of September, I’m told.

Jay Westerdal of Top Level Spectrum (.feedback etc) and Ray King of Top Level Design (.design etc) are organizing the event.

“It’s a small, informal gathering, where the agenda will be set by the participants, most likely around best practices for running a new registry,” Westerdal said.

“It’s not an official group like the RySG, and we don’t expect to be putting out any statements or ‘work product’,” he said.

He said he expects 20 to 25 registry CEOs to attend.

.CLUB Domains CEO Colin Campbell, who said he will attend, said he intends to bring proposals to the meeting around persuading ICANN to support the industry with marketing support and fee reductions.

Campbell wants ICANN to commit to spend $4 million on marketing new gTLDs at trade shows and conferences.

He also wants ICANN to reduce its $0.25 per-domain registry fee, which he referred to as a “tax”, to $0.18 for three years (which would match the $0.18 registrars pay ICANN per transaction).

He said the money would ideally flow through into the pockets of registrants, rather than the industry.

“I’m not suggesting that it be permanent, I’m suggesting that in order to support the fledgling new gTLD industry that they offer a small reduction and hope registries will pass that on to registrars and hopefully registrars will pass that on to consumers,” Campbell said.

The reduction would also help raise awareness of new gTLDs, he said.

The $0.25 fee only kicks in when a registry tops 50,000 billable transactions per year, so the reduction would at first only affect the roughly 50 to 60 new gTLDs that are already over that milestone.

The $0.07 per-domain reduction is so small that even a registry as large as .club, with about a million domains, would only see its fees reduced by about $70,000 per year.

Over all the affected TLDs, it would come out to a cost to ICANN of about $1.2 million per year if current volumes hold.

“It’s a very small amount but I still believe the benefit goes to end users,” Campbell said.

For registrants, it’s difficult to imagine $0.07 making a huge difference, unless they’re a high-volume buyer (which are not always the buyers you want). Generally, the cheaper domains get the more they attract abusive registrants.

Whether the ideas will get any traction among other registry CEOs remains to be seen, but it’s not the first idea for reduced ICANN fees to come out of the registry community recently.

In March, the RySG formally asked ICANN to tap into its war chest of excess new gTLD application fees to waive 75% of its fixed $25,000 annual per-TLD fee, a move that would affect all new gTLDs rather than just the larger ones.

The rebate would have cost ICANN $17 million.

But ICANN knocked that idea back last week, saying it still does not know how much of this $96 million cash pile it will have to spend on unexpected events stemming from the program.

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Comments (10)

  1. ThcNames says:

    If $70,000 makes a difference .CLUB this much and they need IACNN 4G market for them, they know things have flatlined.

  2. Richard Funden says:

    I don’t think a rebate of 7 ct will be much of an incentive to buy a domain name.

    So what if it is 9.92 instead of 9.99?

  3. Dot Advice says:

    Kevin, I ‘m guessing there is no chance of remote participation

  4. Ray King says:

    The meeting is truly just about registry best practices. CEO’s of new registries face a number of similar challenges in getting their TLDs off the ground; this meeting is aimed at sharing and learning from each other’s experiences.

    This article prematurely focuses on “ICANN Tax Cuts,” which is not at all the main purpose of the meeting. We plan to have a free format discussion, borrowing from open space principles where the agenda is set by the participants.

    We also plan to discuss kids, hobbies and eat a few good meals.

  5. Kate says:

    What’s next ? Bailout ?

    Some registries have business models that are so out of touch that a tax cut cannot save them.

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