DNS Katrina: When VeriSign monopoly meets ICANN regulators

by Andy Oram

Hey folks, listen to the big news! A scheming monopoly protected by a lax regulator hurts consumers and holds back progress in areas of commerce! Ah shucks, I thought I was on to something new...

No, it's just a confirmation of an old principle--the current deal struck between ICANN, which the U.S. government gave control over policies concerning the Domain Name System, and VeriSign, the private corporation that manages the insanely popular and critical .com domain.

Take the price of a domain name, for just one example of where the deal goes wrong. The .com domain name market is already weighed down with price-gouging (after all, how much incremental cost is involved in entering an item in a database?), but the new contract allows VeriSign to raise prices 7% per year for four years, just because--well, just because. Like Aristotle said, it's in the nature of some things to fall and some to rise, and VeriSign decided it's in the nature of domain name prices to rise.


2006-03-03 18:42:03
The latest cost of living adjustment figures I've seen are about four percent per annum. If income is based on domain charges, and if salaries must adjust to pay a wage that meets the rising cost of living. 7% per every four years is not unreasonable.

I think that, yes, in general the entire domain system is completely insane and the politics of it are horrible. I just don't think that allowing the price to match inflation is that bad.