Namecheap’s Incomplete Victory Over ICANN’s Removal of Price Caps

Started by Domaining News, Jan 07, 2023, 03:24 AM

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ICANN has responded to the complaint made by Namecheap regarding the removal of price caps on legacy top-level domains. ICANN acknowledges that Namecheap did not receive a total victory, but neither did ICANN.

The IRP panel found that ICANN violated the Articles and/or Bylaws in a few ways, including lack of transparency in decision making, failure to have the Board make the decision about specific registry agreement renewals, and failure to follow procedures to promote the global public interest. While the panel recommended that ICANN's board analyze and discuss next steps, it did not order ICANN to take any particular action.

In my opinion, ICANN's staff entered into the process of removing price caps on legacy TLDs with the pre-determined decision to remove them. Despite going through some motions of transparency, it knew all along that it would remove the price caps, as it did not want to regulate prices. The panel pointed out that ICANN should have been more transparent and considerate of all parties instead of prioritizing its own interests.
 I doubt that .org and .info will ever have price caps again, but the decision could impact future decisions for .com. If the U.S. government ever removes price caps on .com domains, ICANN will have to be more deliberate in its process.

It is worth noting that top-level domains do not hold much market power over new registrations, but they do have significant influence over renewals due to the enormous switching costs involved once a website is built on a domain.