John Levine, author of "The Internet for Dummies" and a fellow ALAC member, has written a on the latest proposed contracts from ICANN. Icann has posted proposed contracts for the .biz, .org and .info domain registries. Unfortunately, these contracts allow for differential pricing, if the registry so desires. What that means is that the price of a particular domain name can go up without a limit, as long as the registry gives 6 months notice to the registrars (note - NOT the registrants!)
So what does this mean for us, regualr people who have a domain name, like jacquelinemorris.com? Well - if I am accustomed to pay $10 per year for the domain registration, one day I may go to renew and find that my price is now $10,000. The registrar knew about this 6 months before, but they had no duty to tell me, so now suddenly I have a bill that is much higher. Now, if htey had told me, I could have renewed for 10 years at the old price, but - why would they? And what happens in 10 years?
So - we can say - if it's too expensive, dump it and get another one. But can we?
Imagine the big companies - investing their company brand and image in coke.com for example. One day, the registry changes it to $500,000 or even $1 billion per year. To me, and to many others (look at the comments ICANN has received), this is highway robbery.
And ICANN isn't even upset about this - Vint Cerf suggested that if it were noted that the price were to go up in six months, one could simply pre-emptively renew for the 10 years that we as registrants are entitled. But would Coke, for example, want to make their business dependent on a domain name that they only had rights to for a reasonable price for 10 years?
I don't think so!