ASAE submitted comments this week on a proposal from the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) to remove all price controls on the .org top-level domain used by most associations and nonprofit organizations.
Legacy domain extensions like .com and .org are technically entrusted to ICANN, the entity that manages the Internet’s address system. But ICANN farms out the operation of legacy domain names to various registry operators. The .org top-level domain has been managed since 2003 by the Public Interest Registry.
The current contract allows domain registrars to increase prices by 10 percent per year. In a proposed renewal agreement released last month, ICANN proposes to remove all price caps, which ASAE and many others believe would expose the vast association and tax-exempt sector to exploitative pricing in the years ahead. ICANN reasons that competition will keep prices in check, but associations with established web addresses will not risk changing their web address and losing their online identity.
“Stating that nonprofit organizations can easily switch from one domain name to another if they don’t like the pricing structure ignores the reality that established nonprofits have a longstanding Internet presence built on a .org domain name – a name and online reputation that the organization (not the registry operator) has spent decades cultivating,” ASAE said in its comments.
The proposed contract allows existing registrants to renew their domain names for up to 10 years at current prices before price hikes take effect but ASAE believes this only delays the inevitable pricing instability to come if ICANN’s proposal takes effect.
ICANN is accepting public comments on the proposed new contract for .org registries until April 29, 2019.