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Non-coms say .org price cap should be RAISED

Kevin Murphy, April 30, 2019, 15:51:15 (UTC), Domain Registries

With the entire domain name community apparently split along binary lines on the issue of price caps in .org, a third option has emerged from a surprising source.

ICANN’s Non-Commercial Stakeholders Group has suggested that price caps should remain, but that they should be raised from their current level of 10% per year.

In its comments to ICANN (pdf), NCSG wrote that it would “not object to the price cap being raised by a reasonable level”, adding:

Rather than removing price caps from the agreement entirely, these should be retained but raised by an appropriate amount. In addition, this aspect of the contract should be subject to a review midway through the contract, based on the impact of the price changes on non-profit registrants.

The NCSG does not quote a percentage or dollar value that it would consider “reasonable” or “appropriate”.

The letter notes that Public Interest Registry, which runs .org, uses some of its registration money to fund NCSG’s activities.

The NCSG disagrees with the decision to remove price cap provisions in the current .org agreement. On the one hand, we recognize the maturation of the domain name market, and the need for Public Interest Registry to capitalize on the commercial opportunities available to it. Public Interest Registry, as a non-profit entity, supports many excellent causes (including, it is worth noting, the NCSG). On the other hand, as the home for schools, community organizations, open-source projects, and other non-profit entities that are run on shoestring budgets, this registry should not necessarily operate under the same commercial realities that guide other domains. Fees should remain affordable, with domains which are priced within reach of everyone, no matter how few resources they have. Consequently, we support leaving the price cap provisions in place. We would not object to the price cap being raised by a reasonable level.

Basically, the ICANN community group nominally representing precisely .org’s target market doesn’t mind prices going up, just as long as PIR doesn’t get greedy.

It’s slightly surprising, to me, to find NCSG on the middle ground here.

There are currently over 3,250 comments on the renewal of PIR’s registry contract with ICANN — coming from domainers, individual registrants, and large and small non-profit organizations — almost all of which are firmly against the removal of price caps.

The only comments I’ve been able to find in favor of the scrapping of caps came from the Business Constituency. Intellectual property interests had no opinion.

I don’t believe the registries and registrars stakeholder groups filed consensus comments, but Tucows did file an individual comment (pdf) objecting to the removal of caps.

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Comments (4)

  1. @domains says:

    What is the reason for allowing the price of .org to rise? Are their costs to run the .org namespace increasing? There must be a rationale to back up any price increase, other than gouging or thinking the market can bear it. Domain names should be left affordable to register by the public, at least the legacy ones like .com .org .net

  2. Rubens Kuhl says:

    It’s a standing RySG tradition to not comment on other registries agreements, amendments or new registry services.

    Also, depending on the matter and the registries involved, such a comment could trigger anti-trust concerns.

    In this particular matter, it would be hypocritical to suggest other registries to keep price caps while also not having them themselves.

  3. Owen says:

    The RrSG submitted a consolidated comment for .ORG, .INFO and .BIZ. It is at https://mm.icann.org/pipermail/comments-info-renewal-18mar19/2019q2/000241.html.

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