Domain pricing and costs

Price Cap Removals Shake Up The Internet

A recent article on Mashable reviews the early history of ICANN (the Internet Corporation of Assigned Names and Numbers) in light of a recent decision to remove the price caps of .org domains.

Antitrust concerns raised in the late 1990s resulted in ICANN’s formation in 1998, as domain name registries had been completely private up to that time. Network Solutions, the initial registry for .com, .net and .org, had previously been permitted to charge as much as $100 for domain names. However, ICANN forced Network Solutions to break the registry off from its registrar business, and ultimately they would sell the registry to Verisign, who remains the .com and .net registry to this day.

The .org TLD (top-level domain) was given up to a non-profit organization, the PIR (Public Interest Registry), in 2003, with price caps installed to keep the price of .org domains manageable for the not-for-profit organizations that made use of them. However, the expiry of the contract with PIR and the subsequent renewal of the Registry Agreement included a provision to remove those caps, allowing the registry to charge anything for registration and renewals of .org domains.

Concerns of future price cap removals on other generic TLDs, particularly .com, are still present among registrars and consumers alike. Jon Nevett, the CEO of PIR replied to the Mashable article indicating that there are currently no plans to increase the price of .org domains.