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ICANN considers removing domain names expiration dates

April fool! 🐟

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) brings together stakeholders in the domain name industry three times a year from around the globe. These meetings purpose is to decide on various issues with the aim of advancing domain name regulations.

  • “Community Forum”, in March
  • “Policy Forum”, in June
  • “Annual General Meeting”, in Octobre

The “Community Forum” includes time for interaction between communities and plenary sessions on topics of community interest. It was during the latter part that the subject of removing domain name expiration dates came up for discussion.

Removing expiration dates from domain names: good or bad idea? We will give you the keys to judge for yourself.


Why is ICANN considering removing domain names expiration dates?

ICANN’s mission is to ensure a secure, stable and unified global Internet.

With this in mind, a domain name that expires creates a lot of problems:

  • an annual renewal fee for keeping your domain name active
  • once your domain name has expired, your website and email addresses will no longer work.
  • there is a high risk that your domain name will be re-registered by companies specialising in “snapping”, a practice which consists of registering a domain name as soon as it has been deleted…

If expiration dates no longer existed, the Internet would be safer because it would be impossible to “lose” your domain name.

Of course, it will always be possible to request the deletion of your domain name if it is no longer of interest to you.


What are the risks of such a measure?

The price of a domain name includes many fees and services depending on the different parties (ICANN, Registry and Registrar):

  • ICANN/ IANA: costs related to the technical management of zones and root servers
  • Registry: costs related to technical management
  • Registrar: costs related to the various accreditations, technical and administrative management, services included…

At Netim, for example, we include in our fees a set of components that allow you to fully use your :

As in any distribution market, each party includes in the selling price something to ensure the sustainability and quality of its services.

Impact on the selling price

If there is no longer an annual renewal fee, the price of a domain name registration is bound to increase drastically as each party will have to finance the management costs of a lifetime in one go.

As the domain name business model is currently based on recurrence, all players will have to rethink their business model by moving from an all-inclusive subscription system to a one-off sale with options.

The result for the consumer: a domain name that will be more expensive to purchase and the obligation to subscribe to options allowing the use of the latter (DNS option, security option etc.).

Impact on the stock of domain names

If action is required to delete a domain name, it is highly likely that very few people will take it. This is why “lifetime” business models require regular action or else the service will be automatically suspended.

The impact will be as follows: very few domain names will be put back on the market and it will become increasingly difficult to find an available domain name.

We see two direct consequences of this galloping scarcity: companies will invest massively in registering all possible variants, thus creating a scarcity phenomenon, and will then put these domains up for sale at exorbitant prices. This is what happens in any sector when demand exceeds supply. This is already the case in .com, where there are no more domain names of less than 5 characters available for registration…

The result for the consumer is less choice in creating new domain names and an explosion in prices.


Our opinion on the removal of expiration dates

As we have just seen, expiration dates have a real purpose.

It is for us, as well as for many actors in the industry, it is unthinkable to remove this notion which will only lead the company to use alternative means, even if it means going back to the means of communication and sales before the Internet (physical shops, mail by post…).

Removing expiration dates is a death sentence for domain names.Sébastien Almiron – Chief Sales & Marketing Officer – Netim

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