ICANN controversially decides to remove .org domain price cap

Many believe that ICANN has bowed to lobbyists.


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Several organizations that use the .org extension on the Internet may now face higher prices due to a recent controversial decision of the ICANN. Against the wishes of the internet community, ICANN gave a green light for removing all price restrictions on .org domain names, meaning that the domain manager of .org extensions Public Interest Registry can now charge as much as it pleases.

Similarly, the domain manager of .info extension Afilias is given the right to charge whatever price they deem fit. Decisions such as these could be taken as a potential warning with regards to the price hike in the .com extensions as well. There is a likelihood that even the .com extension will be set free from any price caps at some point in the future, now this precedence has been set.

Currently, there are about 10 million domains registered under the .org extension with the Public Interest Registry. Until now, the system prevented the domain manager from increasing the prices at their whim. But the latest decision will no longer restrict Public Internet Registry from hiking the prices.

It is believed that this decision might make ICANN’s job easier as it may potentially make its registry agreements similar. Regulatory capture is also another reason why ICANN is keen on removing the price cap on the .org extension.

ICANN’s decision to remove the price caps was met with a huge opposition wherein 3252 comments were against the decision with only 6 comments supporting it. An analysis of the comments in favor of the decision revealed that they were posted by individuals who were lobbying and representing for the registry operators VeriSign/PIR.

ICANN is supposed to represent the average internet user. However, the latest controversial decision approved by the ICANN seems like it is tied up in several conflicts of interest. Lobbying and special interest groups for VeriSign, the Public Interest Registry, and the Internet Society seem to capture several important groups within the ICANN for using the organization for their personal gains.

The latest rule change approved by ICANN might now put several nonprofits and similar organizations in troubled waters. Luckily, the Public Interest Registry is a competent organization that is unlikely to make any sudden changes without a prior warning and a notice period.

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Naga Pramod

Naga Pramod is a computer science major and tech news reporter with a passion for cyber security, networking, and data science. [email protected]
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