Namecheap sent out an email to customers this afternoon to warn them about the potential for price increases on .com domain names. The company’s warning comes shortly after Namecheap CEO Richard Kirkendall penned an article on the company blog, which has been trending on Hacker News this afternoon.
As you can see below, Namecheap is letting its customers know about the reason prices may increase to buy and renew .com domain name, and the company is advising customers about how they can share their opinions with ICANN to voice opposition to the price increases. Over the weekend, Dynadot and NameBright also sent similar emails to their customers, and I hope other domain registrars do the same. The ICA created a tool to make it easier for domain registrants to comment to ICANN.
Here’s the email Namecheap sent to customers this afternoon (thanks to Prakhar Bindal for sharing this with me):
Help Us Avoid .COM Price Increases
We have important information to share with you that will affect the price of your .COM domains.
Last month, ICANN, the organization that oversees domain names, announced significant changes to the contract it has with Verisign, Inc. who operate the .COM top-level-domain (TLD).
ICANN made these changes in secret, without consulting or incorporating feedback from the ICANN community or Internet users. Although ICANN has a history of making similar deals behind closed doors, and also of ignoring unified opposition against such action, we are focused on leading the fight against price increases that will harm our customers (and the Internet as a whole). This is a crucial time to raise our voices given that .COM domains make up 40% of all registered domain names online.
What does this change mean?
Wholesale registries charge Namecheap a set fee per domain name per year. According to this new agreement, Verisign will be allowed to increase the wholesale price to registrars for .COM domains every year for 8 out of the next 10 years, and the increases don’t stop there.
This will mean that .COM wholesale domain prices can grow by more than 70% over and above current prices over the next decade. The contract also allows for other price increases, which could drive prices up further, ultimately making .COM domains less accessible and more expensive for everybody.
Why is ICANN doing this?
Alongside these contract changes, Verisign agreed to pay ICANN an additional $20 million dollars over five years to support ICANN’s domain name system initiatives, without any clarity about how ICANN will spend the money, or who will ensure that the funds are properly spent on domain infrastructure.
So, what can you do to help?
These changes will have significant impact on the Internet for years to come, and only ICANN and Verisign have participated in this decision. If you want to make sure your voice is heard, let ICANN know how you feel about their recent decision. The Public Comment period is open until February 14, 2020.
You can leave your comment on the .COM proposal using ICANN’s form.