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ICANN-Verisign Agreement

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Overview Edit

As part of a legal settlement of a long-running dispute between ICANN and Verisign, Inc., on February 28, 2006, the ICANN Board of Directors approved (by a vote of 9-5) a new .com registry agreement with Verisign. The ICANN-Verisign .com agreement was approved by NTIA/DOC on November 30, 2006.

Terms of the agreement Edit

As a condition of its approval, NTIA retains oversight over any changes to the pricing provisions of, or renewals of, the new .com registry agreement. Approval of any renewal will occur if NTIA concludes that the approval will serve the public interest in the continued security and stability of the DNS, and in the operation of the .com registry at reasonable prices, terms and conditions.

Under the settlement, Verisign will run the .com registry until 2012 (with a presumption that the agreement will be renewed beyond that date), and will have the right to raise domain name registration fees by 7% in four of the six years the agreement will be in effect. The registration fee is the fee that a registrar (such as GoDaddy or pays the .com registry operator (Verisign) for each .com domain name registration made by a consumer.

Under the agreement, Verisign paid ICANN a one-time sum of $625,000 to implement the agreement, as well as a yearly registry fee, starting at $6 million per year, and going up over the first two years to approximately $12 million.

Opinions on the agreement Edit

Critics of the ICANN-Verisign settlement asserted that the agreement is anticompetitive, giving Verisign a virtually permanent monopoly over the lucrative .com registry, while also enabling Verisign to raise registration fees without justification.

Defenders of the settlement argued that the agreement is necessary to ensure the stability and security of the Internet by ensuring the financial stability of ICANN, and by allowing Verisign the flexibility to raise revenue for upgrading its infrastructure.

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