ICA Fires Back at Verisign

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Verisign and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) recently reached a deal that will allow Verisign to raise the price on .com domain name registrations (and renewals). The Internet Commerce Association (ICA) which represents the interests of domain investors and domain industry companies, had previously organized a campaign in opposition of the price increase. The campaign included a Change.org petition, which achieved over 2,300 signatures of support.

Shortly after the agreement between Verisign and the NTIA was announced, Verisign published a concerning article, which, in my view, seemed to mischaracterize domain investors and domain investing. The blog post referred to domain speculation as “domain scalping.” The company seems to have called out industry leaders GoDaddy and HugeDomains in the article. The sentence I found most concerning was this one that called into question the business of domain investing:

“Flipping domain names or warehousing them to create scarcity adds nothing to the industry and merely allows those engaged in this questionable practice to enrich themselves at the expense of consumers and businesses.”

I had always felt that Verisign supported the domain investment business. The company has sponsored industry conferences and it also advertised on domain investment blogs and websites (including mine, DomainInvesting.com). I might expect an article like this from a group aligned with IP interests, but not from a company that seems to have courted  domain investors over the years.

This afternoon, the ICA fired back at Verisign in a CircleID article published by ICA General Counsel Zak Muscovitch. Included in the article, Zak shared what he believes Verisign’s role is in the domain space. He also defended the domain industry:

“The domain name aftermarket, to the contrary, is entirely lawful, highly competitive, and any profits earned are the result of successful investment in a free and open marketplace.”

Zak’s article is well worth a read.

Unfortunately, I don’t think we have seen the end of this scrap yet. I will be very interested to see if GoDaddy and/or Turn Commerce (operator of HugeDomains) publicly respond to Verisign’s comments.

10 COMMENTS

  1. GoDaddy seems to do nothing for protecting the industry, unless I have missed it over the years.

    If anything they have done more harm than good by booting people out of their registrar and hosting for speech they disagree with.

  2. “Flipping domain names or warehousing them to create scarcity adds nothing to the industry and merely allows those engaged in this questionable practice to enrich themselves at the expense of consumers and businesses.”

    What a crock of $hit Verisign!
    You hypocrites!

    How about the thousands of dollars you charged me and most likely thousands of others for your Premium Dot TV domain names?

    I have regged quite a few straight from the registrars with your upcharge being defined as Premium.

    Why can you (Verisign) do that, but yet we as domainers cannot do that?

    Isn’t that the same exact thing that you are flaming us for?

  3. Isn’t that why we had GTLD’s to minimize all this? These are thousands of possible scenarios, anyone who wants any sort of domain can easily obtain one.

    Verisign used to provide lists of unregistered names for domains to register, so what are they talking about, they facilitated it, and profited from it?

  4. The hypocrisy of this company…

    First, ICA’s Phil Corwin leaves ICA to work for Verisign in 2017. How does someone so passionate about protecting the interests of the domain community leave to work for a company like Verisign? Maybe it was all about money to begin with.

    Secondly, Jeannie McPherson, the Verisign employee who wrote the blog post calling domain investors “domain scalpers,” described herself as a “Domain Name Collector” in her LinkedIn profile. Might be removed by now.

    Not sure, but my guess is many of their employees are probably investing/warehousing/scalping domains.

    Regarding their quote…
    “Flipping domain names or warehousing them to create scarcity adds nothing to the industry and merely allows those engaged in this questionable practice to enrich themselves at the expense of consumers and businesses.”

    What a hateful/negative way to look at it. I thought domain investing was about investing in domains, not about creating scarcity. This person clearly doesn’t understand domain investing. Domain investors don’t randomly buy 100K .com’s and say hey there’s 100K less domains available to consumers. They research and buy specific domains for investment purposes. Isn’t that what stock investors do? Isn’t that what real estate investors do?

    The reality is good domains are really rare. There is only one of each domain in the entire world, so you can say that good domains are scarce to begin with. We’re not creating anything. It’s an open market, where the market (supply and demand) determines the value.

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