Name: David Michaels
Date: 25 May 2023
Affiliation: Domain Law Podcast
Original Public Comment: Proposed Renewal of the Registry Agreement for .NET
Congress entrusted ICANN with the mandate to manage the .com and .net TLDs for the benefit of the public. The .net TLD was created for research and education networks.
Over the past decades, ICANN has failed to manage the .com and .net in a manner that meets the expectations of a fiduciary. No persons working for the government would ever be permitted to behave as ICANN's decision makers have, namely, accepting gifts, drinks, food, travel, and more.
The presumptive award of the .net registry contract to Verisign with no negotiations as to the wholesale fees or public tender tends to indicate that ICANN's decision makers have been compromised and are failing to act in the public interest. This is a breach of their fiduciary duty to domain registrants. ICANN has given Verisign a monopoly on both .com and .net domain names and this is unacceptable.
This represents a huge cost on entrepreneurs, small businesses, brand owners and domain investors.
Why should ICANN recklessly award this $130M -> $260M monopoly to Verisign?
Furthermore, the annual rise in wholesale fees for maintaining registrations for .net domain names is completely unjustified and unnecessary.
In 2005, the wholesale cost of a .net domain name was only $3.00.
In 2007, it rose to $3.50.
Today, it's $9.92 and going up to $10.67 soon.
Why should it ever go higher?
Verisign wants to raise it to $18.90 per .net domain name!
Registries should be bidding on the privilege to host a database of domain names and collect fees from registrars.
Why didn't ICANN put the .net registry up for tender?
If the proposed .net registry agreement is adopted, it will be a taking resulting in damages to .net domain registrants.
Summary of Submission
I oppose the adoption of the proposed .net registry agreement. The proposed no-bid contract award to Verisign, complete with fee increases, indicates that ICANN's board has breached its fiduciary duty to the .net domain owners.