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Verisign: would-be .com contract killers are “wrong”

Kevin Murphy, July 2, 2024, 14:48:32 (UTC), Domain Registries

Verisign has responded to the campaign to have the US government cancel its contract to run .com and open the agreement to competitive bidding, saying it is “wrong” and “based on a fundamental misunderstanding” of the deal.

The American Economic Liberties Project, the Demand Progress Education Fund, and the Revolving Door Project put their names to letters last week calling the .com deal between ICANN and Verisign a “de facto cartel” that competition authorities should dismantle.

But, as others have also pointed out, Verisign says that removing the US government from the trilateral agreement would not have the effect the letter-writers believe it would.

In a regulatory filing, Verisign said:

The campaign, and the letters, assert that the 32-year-old Cooperative Agreement between the Department of Commerce (Department) and Verisign involving the .com top-level domain registry can be terminated by the Department on August 2, 2024, and, if it is, the management of .com can be transferred after a competitive bidding process. This assertion is wrong: If the Department chooses to sunset the Cooperative Agreement, which Verisign does not seek, the .com registry will continue to be managed pursuant to the terms of Verisign’s and the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers’ (ICANN) valid, enforceable Registry Agreement

In other words, if the US government butts out, all that’s left to regulate .com pricing is ICANN, and ICANN is institutional averse to regulating pricing, believing it would open it up to genuine concerns about cartel-like behavior.

The Cooperative Agreement (pdf) states:

upon expiration or termination of the Cooperative Agreement, neither party shall have any further obligation to the other and nothing shall prevent Verisign from operating the .com TLD pursuant to an agreement with ICANN or its successor

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Comments (1)

  1. Helmuts says:

    .. sounds like a dirty war :/ .. someone is burning money to get a chance to get their hands on .com

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