Since reading about the reported price increases on some new domain name extensions operated by Uniregistry, I emailed a few people at industry companies to get their take on the news. I have not received many comments yet, but this afternoon, I heard back from Rich Merdinger, VP of Domains at GoDaddy who had this to say about the reported news:
“It’s unfortunate that Uniregistry is going with such a dramatic price increase. Regardless of the economics, it’s an extremely poor customer experience. If our customers plan on staying on these domains, we encourage them to renew for as far out as they can before the prices change. If they want to move to do a different domain name, we’ll do our best to assist them.”
As I wrote earlier this morning, I think that domain registrars like GoDaddy are the companies that will get the most flack for the increasing prices. Although the number of extensions that are facing these large price increases is relatively small compared to the entirety of the new gTLD program, it will likely cause anger and dismay for GoDaddy’s customers who own domain names that are going to be much more expensive to renew.
It makes sense for GoDaddy to encourage its customers to register their names as far out into the future as they are able, but that is sort of kicking the can down the road. Who is to say that the prices don’t increase massively in the future causing more problems down the road? Eventually these domain names will need to be renewed at the increased pricing or potentially even higher pricing.
I wonder if domain registrars like GoDaddy would be able to get registries to contractually lock in pricing parameters in order for the registrar to continue selling their extensions. For instance, it would be helpful to consumers if GoDaddy was able to get registry operators to agree to a certain percentage of price increases over a long period of time. If that were doable, it might give confidence to its customers knowing that the price may go up a bit, but it won’t be above a certain price level.