Money & Business

ICANN Proposal Would End Price Caps on .Org Domains

By / Mar 22, 2019 (marekuliasz/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Associations and other tax-exempt groups could find it a lot costlier in the future to renew their website domain names ending in .org if a new contract proposed by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers is approved.

ICANN, the entity that currently manages over 180 million domain names and 4 billion network addresses on the internet, has proposed lifting price caps on .org and .info domains—a change that could lead to tax-exempt organizations paying domain registries thousands of dollars in fees per year to maintain domain names.

The .org top-level domain (TLD) is used by most associations and other tax-exempt organizations. There are more than 10 million .org domain names registered.

The current contracts with Public Interest Registry, which manages  the .org TLD, and Afilias Limited, the registry that manages .info, limit price increases to 10 percent per year. The new contract would allow unlimited increases.

In announcing the proposed new contract with Public Interest Registry, ICANN said the change “takes into consideration the maturation of the domain name market and the goal of treating the [.org ] registry operator equitably” with registries that operate other, newer TLDs, which are not subject to price caps. (ICANN’s contract with VeriSign, which manages .com domain names, still includes limitations on price increases, although a new contract agreement reached last year allowed for more flexibility, Market Watch reported at the time.)

The proposed contract allows “protections for existing registrants” to remain in place, meaning existing registrants can renew their domain names for up to 10 years at current prices before price hikes take effect.

ICANN is accepting public comments on the proposed new contract for .org registries until April 29, 2019. The current contract expires June 30.

Chris Vest, CAE

Chris Vest, CAE is director of public policy at ASAE. More »

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