ICANN recently announced the renewal of its contracts with the .ORG, .BIZ, .INFO and .ASIA gTLD registries. The contracts include the new terms for newly registered gTLDs that now apply to said domains. Two major changes were made: the first introduces the Uniform Rapid Suspension system (URS), which allows promptly blocking domains suspected of cybersquatting without having to wait for a decision by the Uniform Domain-Name Dispute-Resolution Policy (UDRP); the second removes all previous price caps on registration.
The second amendment to the contracts has caused serious concern in the domain community. During the public comment period ICANN received a great number of comments, most of them very negative. The commentators were primarily concerned with the .ORG domain. It has almost 11 million registered names, and the registrants fear that possible price increases will significantly complicate their positions. This is especially important given that this domain’s primary target group is non-profit organizations where every dollar counts.
Public Interest Registry, which manages the .ORG domain, has already released an official statement saying that it would not increase prices. However, the signing of the new contracts has led to widespread criticism of ICANN. Now the organization is being accused of not listening to the community’s opinion that was expressed during the public comment period. Observers have taken note of the lack of transparency in the decision to renew the contracts. Domain Incite, for example, asserts that decisions at this level must always be taken by the ICANN board of directors. The organization’s website, however, offers no information on the issue ever being discussed by the board, nor was it brought up at the recent ICANN Public Meeting in Marrakesh.