ICANN, VeriSign Agree on Domain Fees

VeriSign and ICANN have reached a tentative agreement that would limit the company from raising wholesale domain fees unless it meets certain conditions. The deal has already been criticized by some who claim that VeriSign would be free to up rates during periods not covered by the agreement.

Under the deal, which continues VeriSign's control of the .com domain, the company would be prohibited from passing on surcharges related to the funding of ICANN. Also, for any two out of the next six years, the company would only be able to raise rates by up to seven percent if the funds were being used to combat a security threat, or to comply with an ICANN mandate.

But Network Solutions, which was owned by VeriSign until 2003, has objected to the agreement, saying that during the other four years rates could also increase by seven percent without any justification.

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Currently, VeriSign charges a base fee of $6 per domain name to resellers, which then can charge what they wish to register domains for consumers.

The deal would also give VeriSign first rights to a renewal of .com management in 2012, another point of contention among competitors. There were hopes of a bidding process, however with the new deal it appears as if that will not occur.

Finally, and likely most significantly for both companies, all legal actions brought by either company would be dropped, including those over a VeriSign service called SiteFinder.

In a statement to the press, VeriSign called the agreement "the best efforts of both VeriSign and Icann to resolve differences that have been present for several years."

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