Thursday, June 08, 2006

Domain name price hikes come under fire

CNET "WASHINGTON--A dispute over the cost of Internet domain names has spilled over onto Capitol Hill, where allegations of monopolization and unreasonable price hikes surfaced in a congressional hearing on Wednesday.

The dispute arises out of a lawsuit settlement reached on March 1 in which the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) gave VeriSign the right to raise fees on .com domains by 7 percent annually. The settlement, approved by ICANN's board by a 9-5 vote, ended a legal spat that started with VeriSign's controversial move to take control of all unassigned .com and .net domain names in 2003.

Those guaranteed price hikes struck some members of the House of Representatives' Small Business Committee as unreasonable. 'When you're talking about increased prices and you're allowed to do that at VeriSign, I don't know that's going to produce any better safety or security from anyone who's paying that additional cost,' said Rep. Sue Kelly, a New York Republican. 'And I haven't heard anything today that tells me that would be the case.' "

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