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Verisign shits on domainers, again

Kevin Murphy, February 17, 2020, 20:20:53 (UTC), Domain Registries

It’s probably no exaggeration to say that Verisign makes hundreds of millions of dollars a year from .com domain investors, and yet it’s been developing a habit in recent years of shitting on them whenever it serves its purpose.

The company’s submission to ICANN’s just-closed public comment period on the proposed new .com contract, which re-enables Verisign’s ability to increase its prices, is the latest such example.

In the letter, which is unsigned, Verisign accuses the Internet Commerce Association, as well as registrars Namecheap and Dynadot, of conducting a “deceptive” campaign to persuade .com registrants to submit comments opposing the deal.

It notes that ICA represents “speculators” — it never uses the term “investors” — as if this was some kind of closely guarded secret, and describes the practice of domaining in a way that implies that the practice is somehow “illegitimate”, like this:

More than any other group engaged in the ICANN multistakeholder process, these speculators are highly sensitive to even the smallest wholesale price changes because of the enormous portfolios of .com domain names they control.

Speculators sometimes sell these domain name registrations to other speculators, but often they pass these costs along when they sell the domain names to legitimate internet users who wish to use .com domain names to build websites. We believe this resale activity adds little value to the DNS.

It’s not wrong, but good grief! The chutzpah on this company is sometimes jaw-dropping.

It’s like a car manufacturer complaining that its billion-dollar range of off-road SUVs are mostly being used by obese city dwellers for the school run. Just take the billion dollars and stop complaining about your biggest customers!

It’s not the first time Verisign has rolled out this line of attack. Back in 2018, when price caps were being negotiated with the US government, it posted an article on CircleID accusing domainers of “exploit[ing] consumers” and “scalping”.

Verisign’s able to get away with this kind of attitude, of course, because most domainers have an almost erotically slavish devotion to .com. The company could spend all day every day emailing them disgustingly personalized “yo momma” jokes and they wouldn’t stop buying up its product by the millions.

The two sides are trapped in an emotionally abusive relationship but they can’t break up because they’re both making so much goddamn money out of it. They’re like the Clintons of the domain world, in other words.

Anyway, the gist of the company’s comment to ICANN is basically “Ignore the 9,000 other comments you’ve received, the commenters were suckered into writing them by lying registrars”.

Read it here (pdf).

As a matter of disclosure, Verisign cites the DI piece last week about covid-19.com as an example of why domainers suck. That wasn’t the intent of the article, but there you go.

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Comments (20)

  1. Yakov says:

    This is robbery.
    Class action lawsuit may solve it.

  2. Brad Mugford says:

    Here we basically have Verisign throwing a temper tantrum because they paid ICANN off fair and square to raise the prices.

    They should be thankful for the position they are currently in. They are allowed to bill $7.85/year for essentially keeping an entry in a database.

    The bottom line is there is no financial or public interest reason for raising .COM prices.

    There is no need, other than for Verisign to use their de facto monopoly to make more money.

    If the contract was open for public bidding, the cost would drop drastically.

    Virtually all the comments are against allowing this.

    I am sure ICANN will once again hurt their own credibility by allowing this, against public interest.

    Brad

  3. Rubens Kuhl says:

    What’s the current guesstimate on .com domains on hold by domainers ?

  4. Mark Thorpe says:

    Verisign acts like they own the .COM registry and have the right to do whatever they want with the .COM!
    Verisign, you do not own the .COM registry and you do not have the right to do whatever you want with the .COM.
    Know your place Verisign, you are just the administrator of the .COM registry.
    You profit off of the .COM registry more than domain registrars and domain Investors (not speculators) do combined. You make billions of dollars in revenue every year off of the .COM registry!
    So why don’t you enjoy your profits while you still can, because someday the .COM registry contract will be up for bidding and someone else will be running the .COM registry instead of you.

  5. Alan Dodd says:

    Honestly these people at Verisign. Everyone seems to be forgetting their little Site Finder experiment. To remind your younger viewers, Verisign actually took over every single dot-com wild card on the Internet and ran amongst other things, ads!? LOL! And they think they are fit stewards of the dot-com asset? LOL! I really think it’s time we get the Europeans involved in this! I wonder what Donald and Co would make of Site Finder? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Site_Finder

  6. RaTHeaD says:

    this is unusual. but don’t quote me.

  7. Domainers deserve to get slapped from Verisign.

    This was a STUPID fight to pick.

    The battle over price increases was back around 2002 and domainers CHOSE not to fight the increases when it counted.

    Now we are making an enemy of the very company we need the most!

    DUMB and STUPID!

    This fight was idiotic and will do long term damage to DOMAINERS.

    • Jack says:

      You’re wrong Rick.
      The .COM registry is the thing of importance here.

      No, Verisign is NOT the company we need the most.
      Afilias or any other company in the registry business will be an as good (or better) steward than Verisign for a fraction of the cost when competitive bidding finally happens.

      Most investors were not even there in 2002 to pick up that fight so now is a perfect time to put an end to this monopoly.

    • Steve B says:

      You have it backwards, Rick. Verisign needs domainers, not the other way around.

      Also, your bias shows everytime you say something. You only speak for the top VIP domainers, but not the smaller guys with smaller pockets.

  8. Anunt says:

    If new gtlds charge $100+ and are 1000 times worse than dot com, then of course Verisign and ICANN going to keep rising dot com prices.

  9. Time for domainers to move new gTLDs?

  10. Reviewu says:

    Don’t worry people… In 10 years time we may not need domains anymore!

  11. The article should have had the headline:

    Domainers shit on Verisign.

    DUMB ass fight to pick!

    In 25 years, the single dumbest thing the industry has done is THIS!!

    I want no part if it!

    You guys fight over small things that can’t be controlled and walk away from important battles. Go figure.

    #Misguided!!

Leave a Reply to Steve B