Skip to main content

.com prices could rise for the first time in eight years

.com prices could rise for the first time in eight years


And keep going up

Share this story

Photo credit should read Andrew Cowie/AFP/GettyImages

Prices for .com domain names could go up for the first time in eight years, with the group responsible for overseeing top-level internet domains, ICANN, close to granting final approval for a series of price hikes.

The price of .com registration has been frozen at $7.85 since 2012. Consumers didn’t necessarily see that price — you could have been charged more or less by a registrar — but that was the price domain registrars ended up paying per registration.

The US government says new top-level domains and social media mean a price freeze isn’t needed

Under a proposed agreement, the price could rise to nearly $13.50 per domain over the next 10 years. The agreement allows Verisign, which has a contract to oversee .com domains, to raise the price by up to 7 percent per year over most of the next decade. Verisign would be required to pause price increases during two years (2024 and 2025), but it would otherwise have authorization to steadily raise prices through 2029.

The price hikes don’t stem from ICANN: they come from an agreement Verisign reached with the Commerce Department, which has some oversight of .com domains. In a blog post yesterday, ICANN CEO Göran Marby writes that the organization “is not a price regulator and defers to the U.S. Department of Commerce and the U.S. Department of Justice for the regulation of pricing for .COM registry services.”

Verisign reached a deal with the government to raise prices in 2018. But it’s gaining attention now because ICANN is close to confirming the price increases in its own contract with Verisign. By Marby’s account, though, there’s nothing ICANN can do — it’s just updating its own agreement to reflect the already agreed upon pricing updates.

The government agreement justifies the price increases by saying that new top-level domains (like .pizza and .camera) and “the use of social media” have made the domain name market “more dynamic.” It’s not strictly wrong about that, but .com still remains the assumed ending for domains, at least in the US.

As Engadget points out, the change also stems from the Trump administration’s desire to roll back anything remotely Obama related. In a 2018 press release about the updated agreement change, the Commerce Department’s telecom agency referred to the price freeze as “Obama-era price controls” and said it was repealing them in favor of “pricing flexibility.”

ICANN’s agreement with Verisign isn’t final just yet. A public comment period closes on Friday, and then a final report is due in March.

The domain registrar Namecheap is making a last-minute push against the changes. On Monday, it sent out an email to customers titled “Help Us Avoid .COM Price Increases” and encouraged readers to leave a comment opposing the price hikes. In the end, it may be registrars that feel the biggest impact: if they want to keep .com pricing low as a way to hook customers and sell them on other services, they may have to take an even bigger hit.

Today’s Storystream

Feed refreshed 6:45 AM UTC Dimorphos didn’t even see it coming

Thomas Ricker6:45 AM UTC
Check out this delightful DART Easter egg.

Just Google for “NASA DART.” You’re welcome.

Richard Lawler12:00 AM UTC
A direct strike at 14,000 mph.

The Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) scored a hit on the asteroid Dimorphos, but as Mary Beth Griggs explains, the real science work is just beginning.

Now planetary scientists will wait to see how the impact changed the asteroid’s orbit, and to download pictures from DART’s LICIACube satellite which had a front-row seat to the crash.

Asian America learns how to hit back

The desperate, confused, righteous campaign to stop Asian hate

Esther WangSep 26
The Verge
We’re about an hour away from a space crash.

At 7:14PM ET, a NASA spacecraft is going to smash into an asteroid! Coverage of the collision — called the Double Asteroid Redirection Test — is now live.

Emma RothSep 26
There’s a surprise in the sky tonight.

Jupiter will be about 367 million miles away from Earth this evening. While that may seem like a long way, it’s the closest it’s been to our home planet since 1963.

During this time, Jupiter will be visible to the naked eye (but binoculars can help). You can check where and when you can get a glimpse of the gas giant from this website.

Emma RothSep 26
Missing classic Mario?

One fan, who goes by the name Metroid Mike 64 on Twitter, just built a full-on 2D Mario game inside Super Mario Maker 2 complete with 40 levels and eight worlds.

Looking at the gameplay shared on Twitter is enough to make me want to break out my SNES, or at least buy Super Mario Maker 2 so I can play this epic retro revamp.

External Link
Russell BrandomSep 26
The US might still force TikTok into a data security deal with Oracle.

The New York Times says the White House is still working on TikTok’s Trump-era data security deal, which has been in a weird limbo for nearly two years now. The terms are basically the same: Oracle plays babysitter but the app doesn’t get banned. Maybe it will happen now, though?

Richard LawlerSep 26
Don’t miss this dive into Guillermo del Toro’s stop-motion Pinocchio flick.

Andrew Webster and Charles Pulliam-Moore covered Netflix’s Tudum reveals (yes, it’s going to keep using that brand name) over the weekend as the streamer showed off things that haven’t been canceled yet.

Beyond The Way of the Househusband season two news and timing information about two The Witcher projects, you should make time for this incredible behind-the-scenes video showing the process of making Pinocchio.

External Link
Emma RothSep 26
Netflix’s gaming bet gets even bigger.

Even though fewer than one percent of Netflix subscribers have tried its mobile games, Netflix just opened up another studio in Finland after acquiring the Helsinki-based Next Games earlier this year.

The former vice president of Zynga Games, Marko Lastikka, will serve as the studio director. His track record includes working on SimCity BuildIt for EA and FarmVille 3.

External Link
Vietnam’s EV aspirant is giving big Potemkin village vibes

Idle equipment, absent workers, deserted villages, an empty swimming pool. VinFast is Vietnam’s answer to Tesla, with the goal of making 1 million EVs in the next 5-6 years to sell to customers US, Canada and Europe. With these lofty goals, the company invited a bunch of social media influencers, as well as some auto journalists, on a “a four-day, multicity extravaganza” that seemed more weird than convincing, according to Bloomberg.

James VincentSep 26
Today, 39 years ago, the world didn’t end.

And it’s thanks to one man: Stanislav Petrov, a USSR military officer who, on September 26th, 1983, took the decision not to launch a retaliatory nuclear attack against the US. Petrov correctly guessed that satellite readings showing inbound nukes were faulty, and so likely saved the world from nuclear war. As journalist Tom Chivers put it on Twitter, “Happy Stanislav Petrov Day to those who celebrate!” Read more about Petrov’s life here.

Soviet Colonel who prevented 1983 nuclear response
Photo by Scott Peterson/Getty Images
The Verge
James VincentSep 26
Deepfakes were made for Disney.

You might have seen the news this weekend that the voice of James Earl Jones is being cloned using AI so his performance as Darth Vader in Star Wars can live on forever.

Reading the story, it struck me how perfect deepfakes are for Disney — a company that profits from original characters, fans' nostalgia, and an uncanny ability to twist copyright law to its liking. And now, with deepfakes, Disney’s most iconic performances will live on forever, ensuring the magic never dies.