hmmm...... you can buy a domain name from the feds for $6 a year. that federal company or perhaps business is "ICANN" or Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers

Go Daddy protesting agency deal Says plan could raise domain names' prices

Jane Larson The Arizona Republic Mar. 3, 2006 12:00 AM Inc. is urging Internet users to write to their legislators and protest a deal that could mean higher prices for domain names ending in ".com."

The Scottsdale-based registrar of domain names is unhappy with the agreement struck this week between VeriSign Inc. and the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers. The agreement allows VeriSign to raise its prices by 7 percent a year in four of the next six years. It also gives VeriSign the first right to renew the contract with ICANN when it expires in 2012.

ICANN is the Internet's main oversight agency. It contracts with VeriSign, of Mountain View, Calif., to run the servers that constitute the Internet's core address book for ".com" Web sites. VeriSign acts as a registry and sells ".com" addresses to registrars like Go Daddy, who then sell them to the public.

Registrars now pay VeriSign $6 per ".com" address. Go Daddy sells an address for $8.95 a year, less if a customer buys additional services such as Web hosting. The company has grown rapidly by selling domain names at low prices.

Bob Parsons, founder and chief executive officer of Go Daddy, said Thursday that the company would pass yearly increases on to customers. He said the price increases for VeriSign are unwarranted because technology has improved, maintenance costs have dropped and the number of domain names has soared.

"We're going to have to pass an increase on," he said, "when what we should be passing through is a price cut."

Giving VeriSign the right to renew its contract also will create a monopoly and reduce incentives to innovate, Parsons said.

VeriSign spokesman Tom Galvin said Thursday that the registry has no plans to raise prices. If it did, it would give six months' notice so domain-name registrants could renew their agreements and lock in prices, he said.

He also said that as Internet traffic and attacks increase, VeriSign needs the flexibility to raise prices and invest in the health of the Internet.

"What it comes down to is, Go Daddy wants to keep their margins up," Galvin said.

The U.S. Commerce Department still must approve the VeriSign-ICANN agreement.

Parsons said the contract, which takes effect in 2007, should be put out to bid. Competition would lower prices for domain names, he said.

He insisted that Go Daddy would not be interested in bidding and becoming a registry. It is the No. 1 registrar, with 4.5 million customers, and antitrust laws would prohibit it from being in the ".com" registry business, he said.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

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