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).

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 5th, 2009 @ 4:46pm

    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).

    The real crime isn't what Verisign charges today, but rather what they charged in the past.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 5th, 2009 @ 5:03pm

    Cheaper domains are just going to lead to more squatting and faster use of the useful domain space - if anything domains should be far more expensive to limit people squatting them, they'll think twice before purchasing a domain they may not really need.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    Anon, Anon, Jun 5th, 2009 @ 7:06pm

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. icon
    Mike Masnick (profile), Jun 5th, 2009 @ 7:36pm


    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. icon
    iyogi (profile), Jun 7th, 2009 @ 9:35pm


    The trade group insists that other domain operators would charge half of what VeriSign charges for .com Web addresses if given the right to compete. The 9th Circuit agreed that the .com contract poses antitrust concerns that should be weighed at trial.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    niko, Jun 11th, 2009 @ 10:35am

    Google Inc has received formal notice from the U.S. Justice Department that antitrust investigators are looking into its settlement with publishers that would help make millions of books available online.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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