Money & Business

Association Agenda: Internet Sticker Shock

By / Jun 2, 2019 (Almagami/Getty Images)

Maintaining a .org web address could get pricey.

Associations and other tax-exempt groups could find it a lot more costly in the future to renew .org top-level domain (TLD) names 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. This means that tax-exempt organizations could be paying domain registrars thousands of dollars in fees per year to maintain domain names.

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

The current contract allows domain registrars to increase prices by 10 percent per year. In a proposed renewal agreement released last month, ICANN proposes removing all price caps, which ASAE and many others believe would expose the vast association and tax-exempt sector to exploitative pricing in the years ahead. ICANN reasons that competition will keep prices in check, but that’s unlikely, according to ASAE.

“Stating that nonprofit organizations can easily switch from one domain name to another if they don’t like the pricing structure ignores the reality that established nonprofits have a longstanding internet presence built on a .org domain name—a name and online reputation that the organization (not the registry operator) has spent decades cultivating,” ASAE said in comments submitted to ICANN in April.

The proposed contract allows existing registrants to renew their domain names for up to 10 years at current prices, but this would only delay the inevitable pricing instability to come if ICANN’s proposal takes effect.

Chris Vest, CAE

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

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