back to article Shall we strip price caps from .org, mulls ICANN. Hm, people seem really upset... OK, let's do it

The price caps have been taken off .org domains, meaning that more than 10 million largely non-profit organizations will end up paying more for their online presence each year. The increase could be, say, $10 or so per domain each year, on top of the usual $12 to $20 annual renewal fee. The exact figure has not been set in …

  1. ma1010 Silver badge
    FAIL

    If I understand you correctly...

    ...is indicative of an organization that can, and does, act in its own interests and with impunity, despite the fact its oversees a vast public resource and claims to be acting in the public interest.

    You're saying that ICANN behaves pretty much the same as the U.S. Government?

    1. ThatOne Silver badge
      Unhappy

      Re: If I understand you correctly...

      > an organization that can, and does, act in its own interests and with impunity, despite the fact its oversees a vast public resource and claims to be acting in the public interest.

      Well, the FCC has given the example: Scruples are a sign of weakness.

  2. Drew 11

    "The majority of ICANN's budget comes from the registry operators and the registrars that sell domains, who pay annual fees to the organization as well as a small per-domain fee."

    Domain fee paid by registrants, passed onto ICANN via the two-tier registrar/registry.

    "Price rises benefit everyone except end users."

    Damn straight.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Yep, this is pure profiteering. Even worse is that this time it's targetted at mainly non-profits and charities.

      There's no good reason to remove an existing cap or to increase it beyond the levels need to run and maintain the system. If anything, domain name systems should be getting cheaper. It's mainly an automated system.

      1. Vincent Ballard

        I'd go further. There is no good reason not to have a 10% per annum price increase cap on every registry contract. It doesn't matter what TLD your domain is under: once you've invested in branding using your website or e-mail address you're held hostage.

  3. -v(o.o)v-

    I'm not going to even bother to rant about these clowns.

    ICANN sucks.

    1. Psmo Bronze badge
      Alien

      Of all the things said about ICANN, acting in the public interest isn't one of them.

      I don't know why I'm even surprised.

      Beam me up, number one.

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      "ICANN sucks."

      That just needs a LOLCatz image. There's probably one out there already.

  4. Louis Schreurs

    Before reading

    U$A’s constitution’s right to pursue happiness is roughly translated to the right to take money whereever that is possible. This seems to be accelerated under trump.

    1. steward
      Boffin

      Re: Before reading

      There is nothing in the USA's constitution about pursuing happiness.

  5. Louis Schreurs

    Why?

    Because

    I CANN

  6. lglethal Silver badge
    Go

    Time for another European Antitrust Review?

    Since the American Antitrust investigators seem to be hamstrung at every opportunity, it would seem that it's time for Europe to have a good hard look at the anti-competitive/antitrust behaviour of ICANN.

    Seems pretty clear cut, that having one registry controlling an entire TLD with no restrictions on price, is the very definition of antitrust behaviour...

    1. Saruman the White

      Re: Time for another European Antitrust Review?

      The problem we have here is one of jurisdiction. ICANN is a US organisation that does not have a European representative; hence by law there is nothing that the EU law can target. The EU is firmly aware that European law stops at the European borders.

      1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

        Re: Time for another European Antitrust Review?

        Saruman the White,

        The EU does have power over ICANN. Because the EU has power over registrars that operate in the EU. That's why GDPR rules changed the way the WHOIS registry got populated with personal data, even though ICANN objected and the registrars contracts with ICANN specifically require them to break the law - which of course they don't and ICANN cannot enforce.

        They obviously can't affect ICANN in the US. But if ICANN wants to get paid by European registrars for registering EU related domains, then ICANN can be forced to act.

        People think the internet is immune to national law. And in some ways it can be. You can hide servers in the different jurisdictions. But once payment becomes an issue, governments and courts have the power to stop the flow of money - which gives them leverage to make the law apply. And large comapanies want to be able to access the European market, as well as not wanting their directors arrested when they go on holiday, or fly for business meetings.

        1. Saruman the White

          Re: Time for another European Antitrust Review?

          I agree that the EU has power over European registrars, however that does *not* translate to having power over ICANN. Basically ICANN has domain authority over ".org" and therefore can do whatever they like with it within the rules set by the applicable (i.e. US) law. If the EU attempts to punish the European registrars for ICANNs sins, then the registrars will probably appeal (successfully) to the ECJ on the basis that *they* have not broken any laws, and *they* have no authority over ICANN.

          Also be careful about citing GDPR in this case. ICANN itself is essentially immune to GDPR since it is outside of the effective authority of the EU (and it is able to ignore any potential fines that the EU might try to impose), however the WHOIS registry *does* fall under the remit of the GDPR, but only for those domains that are managed within the boundaries of the EU (e.g. .eu, .nl, .fr, .be, ....).

          At no point did I say, or imply, that the Internet is above national laws; that would be a Trump-level stupid statement to make. However do the same token, national laws only apply to the Internet within the applicable national boundaries; hence EU rules do not apply outside the EU, ditto US rules, ditto <country of your choice>.

          1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

            Re: Time for another European Antitrust Review?

            Europe is one of ICANN's major markets. Hence it can't ignore European competition law. Plus the whole putting company officers in prison thing. That's how MS and Google jumped-to when fined. And how the EU Competition Commissioner was able to block the merger of GE and Honeywell a few years ago, even though both are US companies.

          2. Vincent Ballard

            Re: Time for another European Antitrust Review?

            My understanding of GDPR is that the WHOIS registry falls under its remit whenever and wherever it stores personal data of EU citizens. It has extraterritorial application, albeit with caveats about the ability to enforce.

            That said, it might be possible in principle for European courts to seize money being transferred from European registrars to extra-European register operators as an enforcement measure against the operators.

  7. Anon

    I can see an opportunity here...

    Make icann.org $10,000,000 per year. See if they learn anything from that.

  8. Nick Kew Silver badge

    Monopoly

    In Blighty we may apply monopolies scrutiny to a successful business based on a market share of no more than twentysomething percent. They recently blocked the Sainsbury-Asda merger that would've given them just over 30% market share in food shopping, and that's not the smallest case.

    Cases like Microsoft and Google look more like monopolies, but even those always had competitors.

    ICANN is the real deal. Not merely a company that made a big success in a free and open market, but a monopoly created by the absence of any possibility of a competitive market. Where are the regulators?

    1. Matt Ryan

      Re: Monopoly

      <cough>Nominet</cough>

      1. Carpet Deal 'em Bronze badge
        Facepalm

        Re: Monopoly

        When it comes to the internet, ICANN is the Lord thy God. The only way to avoid this would be to completely decentralize things, which is utterly impossible with what we have. Now, it's possible we could be able to neighborly negotiate IPv6 addresses to avoid overlap, but good luck with DNS.

    2. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: Monopoly

      Monopolies are perfectly legal.

      Monopoly abuse is not. It's harder to deal with monopoly pricing - because it's hard for a regulator to decide what the fair price should be, in the absence of a properly functioning market. That's why in the UK we now have several ex state-owned companies operating in markets where their prices (and often their investment levels) are controlled by a regulator.

      The other kind of monopoly abuse, that's easier to stop, is using a dominant position in one market to have an unfair advantage in others. Such as Google using their search monopoly to dominate price comparison, or mapping, or mobile phones or... Even there, it takes the regulators a long time to act.

  9. Mk4

    As so often the case...

    The actions of the USA, their companies and organizations throw into sharp relief the benefits of being a Josette and Joe Public living in Europe, where things are run a little differently. Sure there are problems, but overall Europe is a cut above everywhere else on earth right now as a place to live.

  10. LeahroyNake Silver badge

    An alternative

    It would be nice to have an alternative to the US controlled gTlD system but how that would work is way beyond anything I can come up with.

    I'm guessing some sort of distributed open trust system may be possible but only if the major browsers and search engines supported it.

    Ideas anyone?

    1. Ben Tasker Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: An alternative

      Something.... something... something... blockchain

      If anyone wants to invest, I hear blockchain attracts a fortune...

    2. Saruman the White

      Re: An alternative

      In principle a really attractive idea. In practice probably not so good since the gTLD system is effectively tied to the design of DNS; we would need to get a new domain protocol defined, deployed and widely accepted before you could loosen the grip of the gTLDs.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: An alternative

        EU decides all national domains will be under .eurodns, root server for .eurodns is located in EU and all European users will use a browser plugin (developed at great expense by the commission), conditional forwarding rules etc to handle lookups to officially approved DNS servers that will handle resolution to approved lesser domains out there. Easy, job's a good-un and it's already been done elsewhere and ICANN won't be able to do a think about it.

        Anon 'cos I don't want the blame when some twonk in government actually takes this as a serious proposal. And no doubt somebody will make a quip about taking back control too.

      2. StargateSg7 Bronze badge

        Re: An alternative

        " ....we would need to get a new domain protocol defined, deployed and widely accepted before you could loosen the grip of the gTLDs....."

        ---

        DONE THAT !!!

        I've got an ENTIRE IP (Internetworking Protocol) protocol taking into account BOTH legacy and new high-end, high-speed and low-speed ALWAYS ENCRYPTED text and voice messaging, email, file transfer, realtime and time-delayed streamed audio/video/metadata communications for smartwatches, tablets, embedded devices, IOT, desktop, servers, supercomputing, LAN/WAN, machine control, robotics, autonomous systems, security systems, networks, groups of networks and interspace/interestellar communications!

        I've even got a OPEN SOURCE FULLY FREE lower-power-consumption combined-CPU/GPU/DSP/BASEBAND/SecureDNS/CRYPTO ASIC DESIGN for it all IN ONE SINGLE CHIP !!!

        AND I am more than willing to GIVE IT ALL AWAY FOR FREE !!!!

        ..

  11. STOP_FORTH
    Terminator

    Resistance is futile

    we_are_the_b.org

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