[At-Large] RES: Fwd: Comment on proposal for the removal of existing gTLD-Registrar cross-ownership.

Alan Greenberg alan.greenberg at mcgill.ca
Mon Jun 4 19:10:27 UTC 2012

Thanks Vanda,

The reference to competition review in the 
proposal seems to be solely with respect to the 
registrar-registry integration and not other 
issues that may follow as a result of adoption of 
the new agreement. Surely anti-trust authorities 
could step in, but generally do not do so in 
relation to prices in a non-regulated industry 
(gov't regulated that is). So it is possible that 
a new agreement would be acceptable to them.

I have not done an analysis of whether the new 
agreement (and the pricing to ICANN in it) would 
be attractive to Verisign/PIR - I suspect not.

The current price from the registry for a .com 
domain is $7.85 and may rise by only 7% per year. 
The typical price for a .com domain in the US 
ranges from $7-13, so the Verisign fee is a driving factor of the retail cost.


At 04/06/2012 01:36 PM, Vanda UOL wrote:
>You may right but the top on the contracts are also controlled by USG, since
>in the case of VeriSign there is a monopoly restriction regarding US law. I
>am not sure if this specific case will continue the overall restriction by
>USG after the new gTLDs start to run.
>But considering other new gTLDs will not sign such restrict agreement  with
>top price clause I don´t see why  VeriSign would accept to be the only one.
>By the other hand , I do believe the prices  per domain VeriSign is
>collecting ( about 8 US$?) per domain/year, has nothing to do with the
>prices you can pay from any registrar  for the same domain. the price you
>pay has no real relation with the cost of  the service. It is mostly defined
>by the market . but the risk exists: if the registry raises its prices , for
>sure the value you pay in the market can be times of such change.
>agem original-----
>De: at-large-bounces at atlarge-lists.icann.org
>[mailto:at-large-bounces at atlarge-lists.icann.org] Em nome de Christopher
>Enviada em: segunda-feira, 4 de junho de 2012 04:53
>Para: At-Large Worldwide
>Assunto: Re: [At-Large] Fwd: Comment on proposal for the removal of existing
>gTLD-Registrar cross-ownership.
>Dear Alan:
>I share your concerns. There should be an ALAC comment.
>If the removal of gTLD Registry/Registrar cross-ownership restrictions is
>applied retroactively to existing operators, that radically changes the DNS
>business model.
>Including aspects of competition policy for which ICANN is responsible.
>Thanks and Regards
>On 04 Jun 2012, at 01:06, Alan Greenberg wrote:
> > Note the following note sent to the ALAC list.
> >
> > Alan
> >
> >> To: ALAC Working List <alac at atlarge-lists.icann.org>
> >> From: Alan Greenberg <alan.greenberg at mcgill.ca>
> >> Subject: Comment on proposal for the removal of existing
> >> gTLD-Registrar cross-ownership .
> >>
> >> I was asked to evaluate whether a comment of the Proposed Revised
> >> Process for Handling Requests for Removal of Cross-Ownership
> >> Restrictions on Operators of Existing gTLDs warrants ALAC comment,
> >> and if so to draft such a comment. Following consultation with
> >> selected ALAC and At-Large members, I believe that a comment is
> >> warranted.
> >>
> >> Unfortunately other commitments have prevented me from submitting
> >> such a comment until today, and the first stage of the comment period
> >> ends on June 6th.
> >>
> >> I would suggest that if there is no substantive ALAC request to not
> >> submit this comment, that it be submitted prior to the deadline with
> >> the stated proviso that it is undergoing ALAC comment and approval.
> >> That would allow the ALAC to revise it if needed, and accept or
> >> reject it prior to the conclusion of the 2nd phase of the comment
> >> period.
> >>
> >> The details of the proposal and comment period are at
> >> http://www.icann.org/en/news/public-comment/revised-cross-ownership-r
> >> estrictions-16may12-en.htm
> >> .
> >>
> >> My concern is that one of the options provided is that existing
> >> registry operators (and specifically .com, .net and .org) can either
> >> request amendment of their agreements to remove cross-ownership
> >> restrictions, or can transition  to the agreement to be used by all
> >> new gTLD operators. If they chose the latter path, along with the
> >> removal  of the restrictions on cross ownership, they would also
> >> remove the price caps that are in existing agreements. This I feel
> >> could be of great detriment to Internet users.
> >>
> >> My proposed comment follows.
> >>
> >> Alan
> >> ==========================
> >>
> >> The ALAC and At-Large have multiple opinions on whether the removal
> >> of Cross-Ownership Restrictions for gTLD Operators will be to the
> >> benefit or detriment of users, or in fact, the domain ecosystem.
> >> There is, however, a unified position that whatever the environment
> >> is, with certain constraints, there should be a level playing field
> >> for all gTLD operators.
> >>
> >> As such, the ALAC supports the removal of cross-ownership constraints
> >> for existing gTLD operators.
> >>
> >> Nevertheless, the ALAC does have one concern with the proposal, and
> >> that is the option for existing gTLD operators to transition to the
> >> new gTLD agreement. That transition would be subject to limits
> >> related to competition issues raised by the removal of the
> >> cross-ownership restrictions. The document is silent on other results
> >> of such a transition, and particularly the removal of price caps on
> >> existing operators.
> >>
> >> The ALAC does not believe that there is sufficient proof at this time
> >> to indicate that the new gTLD environment will so significantly
> >> change the gTLD market so that price caps are no longer required for
> >> the dominant gTLDs. As such, no change driven by the removal of
> >> cross-ownership restrictions should at the same time remove the price
> >> caps in the current agreements for dominant gTLDs without substantive
> >> community involvement.
> >
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