It may come as a surprise to many but for those who haven’t been following, a few months ago ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) removed the historical price caps for .org top level domains (TLD) from the Public Interest Registry (PIR) contract.
What does this mean for customers worldwide? Well, to shade more light onto the subject, it means that top level domains which had previously been under price caps to protect customers from unpredictable price increases is out of the picture.
Imagine waking up in the morning only to find out that your top level domain that once cost you probably $20 per year is now at $50 or $100 more and there is nothing you can do about it since price caps are the thing of the past.
ICANN’s decision to scrap historical price caps could or may affect several businesses negatively in the foreseeable future. The move affects .org and other legacy TLDs such as .biz, .asia, and .info.
What is a domain name?
Based on the definition from Wikipedia; a domain name is an identification string that defines a realm of administrative autonomy, authority or control within the Internet.
In general, a domain name identifies a network domain, or it represents an Internet Protocol (IP) resource, such as a personal computer used to access the Internet, a server computer hosting a web site, or the web site itself or any other service communicated via the Internet.
Simply put, a good example of domain name may include the name of your website that customers input into the browser as they search for you over the Internet. For example, www.alicebakery.com with alicebakery.com being the domain name.
Early July this year, one of the top domain name service providers, Namecheap took a stance against the move calling upon its customers and other Internet users to submit comments to ICANN in support of keeping the price caps for .org and other legacy TLDs as it was seen as a determent to innovation.
However, despite their efforts with over 3,500 comments posted in at the time ICANN ignored the the opinions posted by several users and went ahead to scrap the price caps.
According to ICANN, in the event of a price increase, registrants could just move to other TLDs or quickly renew domain names for 10 years prior to the change taking effect. In doing so, it explicitly ignored feedback provided by many users.
How does this affect you or your business?
For starters, the removal of the price caps can be more damaging to those with TLD domains in the following ways;
1. No equivalent or relevant TLD
For those with nonprofit’s, .org domains are the best option since they are well-known, safe and trusted, So, if the prices go up, changing your domain name to something else isn’t a viable option.
2. It affects your website SEO
We aware of the importance of SEO to our websites and how vital it is in getting them ranked up highly in search engines. So, what would happen if you changed your domain name due to the price hike? It would negatively affect your sites performance.
Many have been using a .org domain name for years, and the cost and risk of moving to another TLD (e.g. losing search engine rankings, notifying the public of the new TLD, etc) causes great concern.
3. Abandoning domain name completely
If prices increase too much, registrants might abandon using a domain name in order to use another platform with price certainty. This includes relying solely on social media or mobile apps which affects your site and business.
4. It may lead to removing price caps on .com domains too
If the TLDs have been affected by ICANN’s decision then what stops them from taking the same move towards other domains such as the .com registry agreement (which is subject to renewal in 2024, is the largest TLD by far, and because it is commercial in nature, is more likely to lead to price increases).
In-spite of the negative concerns users have with ICANN’s decision, it has totally ignored their cries for help even though the PIR is purely maintaining the .org registry and not undertaking development initiatives that would benefit registrants or require additional resources.
According to Namecheap, “we cannot understand why ICANN ignored the overwhelming voice of the Internet community and would decide to allow unrestricted price increases in legacy TLDs. We decided to stand up to ICANN on behalf of our customers, and the Internet community as a whole, on this very important issue by filing a Request for Reconsideration. This is a process through ICANN’s bylaws that requires ICANN’s board of directors to formally reconsider this wrong decision by ICANN staff. ICANN has 90 days to initially respond to Namecheap’s request, and we’ll update you when there is more information.”
What’s your stand on ICANN’s decision to scrap price caps? Do you think it should review their move or proceed forward with other domain registries.
In other news: You Can Now Lock Your WhatsApp Messages Using Fingerprint
Author: Allan Bangirana
Allan Bangirana has a taste for all kinds of topics and usually writes about tech, entertainment, sports and community projects that make a difference in society.