According to VeriSign's latest public statistics, it is handling only an average of 59 billion DNS requests per day, less than that handled by Google. However, VeriSign does not perform this service for free.
VeriSign registry fees are $7.85/yr for each dot-com domain name, and $5.86/yr for each dot-net domain name, with prices increasing 7% and 10% annually (respectively) due to a sweetheart no-bid contract with ICANN.
With more than 100 million dot-com domain names registered, VeriSign generates nearly $800 million per year in revenues from the public, with infrastructure costs and load that are comparable to a service provided by Google absolutely free. This should clarify the extent to which ICANN and VeriSign are gouging the public. It certainly does not cost Google $800 million/yr to run their Public DNS service.
The time has come for ICANN to open up the dot-com registry contract to a public tender process in order that the public receives the best possible price for registry services. The current contract is the equivalent of the $436 hammer or the $640 toilet seat that used to be common in the defense industry.
Should ICANN not open up the contract to a public tender process, the NTIA or DOC should compel them to do so. Failing that, the Department of Justice should open up anti-trust investigations to examine whether consumers are being harmed by this anti-competitive untendered contract that bears no relation to the costs of performing the service. Under competition, dot-com registry costs would almost certainly be below $2/yr per domain name. That's $500 million or more per year that the NTIA, DOC and DOJ can return to consumers by forcing a tender process for dot-com registry services.
It also begs the question: Why are registrars not more vocal in opposition to the no-bid sweetheart contract that VeriSign enjoys? The answer is clear — many of them want to emulate VeriSign, to become registry operators in new TLDs. This desire for new monopolies and new monopoly pricing demonstrates how broken ICANN has become, and how distant it is from the true desires of consumers.
By George Kirikos, President, Leap of Faith Financial Services Inc.
|Cybersquatting||Policy & Regulation|
|DNS Security||Registry Services|
|IP Addressing||White Space|
Minds + Machines