Appeals Court Brings Back Lawsuit Over Possible Antitrust Violations Over .com Registry

from the this-could-get-interesting dept

For a long time, there have been accusations of questionable sweetheart deals by ICANN and whoever got to manage certain top level domains — with no controversy bigger than the question of why VeriSign got to retain the .com and .net registries, and raise prices on it, without any opportunity for other providers to bid on the business (for the .com registry at least — there was bidding on .net). There were also complaints about a secondary market for “used domains” that VeriSign was setting up. A non-profit group had sued VeriSign, saying that these were antitrust violations, but the district court had thrown out the case, saying that the group, called the Coalition for ICANN Transparency, failed to properly state its case (despite having an opportunity to amend the original filing). However, an appeals court has reversed the lower court, and will allow the lawsuit to proceed, which could mean problems for VeriSign (and potentially cheaper domain name registrations).

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Companies: icann, verisign

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Comments on “Appeals Court Brings Back Lawsuit Over Possible Antitrust Violations Over .com Registry”

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Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re:

dot com domains cost today 80% less than they did 15 years ago ($35 a year, two year minimum (then), and $7 and change today single years okay).

Well, not quite. That difference is because VeriSign now wholesales it, and it’s others who reduce the price for a variety of reasons. The issue here is that VeriSign was given renewed control *and* the ability to increase prices, without a competitive bid.

Anon, Anon says:

Speaking of Verisign; What became of the bru-ha-ha about how Network Solutions/Verisign was “sitting” on domain names typed into their whois search page? From my sometimes-faulty memory:

It was a couple of years ago, but basically my memory is that they were exploiting the conditions of the ICANN registration which allow a registrar to claim registration of a domain, making it unavailable to other registrars, but then relinquish it at no cost within 5 days if the registration was not completed (or some period like 5 days). It was reported that they were taking every domain name for which someone did a whois/availability search on a Network Solutions site, and immediately claim registration of it. This effectively made it impossible to register that name for five days with another, competing registrar. As you may know if you have used Network Solutions whois/availability checker, if a domain is available, they immediately present a “Register this domain now” teaser to try to get you to register the domain you are checking with them. If you say no, and then go try to register it at, say, GoDaddy, it would be shown as unavailable for the next five days and you would only be able to get it from Network Solutions.

So that’s what I remember of the situation. I would guess they were not able to keep doing that, but I don’t remember seeing anything about if they stopped it.

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