Greed is Good
In the Land of the Free, not the Land of the Freebie.
The internet is about to get a whole lot more expensive. The organization that oversees the domain name system, ICANN, has proposed an end to price caps on one of the internet's most popular extensions – .org – and many in the internet industry are unhappy about it. "Imagine if next year you had to pay 10 times as much to …
Also the "Land of Dishonesty".
For example, the ICANN comment submission form is (apparently) here:
When you tick the checkbox (terms of service, etc), then click "Continue" to take you to the comment / feedback creation page guess what happens...
Nothing. No page load, etc. Tried several times (using FF on Linux).
So, their official request for comments page, doesn't accept comments.
How very Yank.
> Who cares?? No one on the internet, they could just as easily use .com
I'm sure any person or small business who already has a .org address cares a lot about this.
And of course, this is the thin-end of the wedge. If this passes, then .com will be next.
We could end up in the situation where anyone can be held to ransom by the registrars. Oops, looks like your domain has become "popular", judging by the number of DNS queries for it. Therefore, the renewal price has just gone up 100x.
Without a cap, that's possible. The only reason it doesn't happen already on the uncapped TLDs is because the main ones are still capped.
It would turn the registrars, who are already barons with far too much power, into a mafia who can levy unlimited "taxes" against whomsoever they choose. And tbh, I'm sick of ICANN just bending over and doing whatever GoDaddy tells them to.
Protection: Daily necessity food prices are capped so no one starves... luxury food items are uncapped so companies can prosper selling them at any price and meeting demand.
Corporations: [Nice shop window you have there.. um, er... I mean] "The luxury items are already uncapped, it would be wonderful if necessities were too. Think of how high a price we can charge and thus help our customers!
Customers: Starve and die.
"It would turn the registrars, who are already barons with far too much power, into a mafia who can levy unlimited "taxes" against whomsoever they choose. "
It would also attract _very_ close attention from the FTC and its EU equivalent - both of whom will claim jurisdiction no matter where the registrars happen to be based, thanks to long-arm statutes.
This could well be the start of some _very deep_ investigations into the relationships between (former) ICANN board members and registrars and reopen some long-festering issues about (lack of) ethics of said board members.
If so, I'm going to sell popcorn.
How about pricing it just above the cost to run it for the year, that way people get the capability, but nobody is profiteering.
Registrars - if you hike prices, I’ll expect to see a breakdown of cost, so that I know I’m getting good value. You might also note how the broad swathe of expensive domains out there are largely ignored by those of us who want to run a couple of sites for a bit of fun, the same thing will happen if the convenient domains hike their prices too.
How about pricing it just above the cost to run it for the year, that way people get the capability, but nobody is profiteering.
I think that the cost for running .org is close to null. Most customers have been for years, only cost incured are to send the bill for the next year and collect the money.
It is easy to choose a cheap TLD when you start your online presence, but it is much harder to switch once you've been there for some time: that's where this price increase is stealing from the customers: they are not able to change.
> I’ll expect to see a breakdown of cost, so that I know I’m getting good value.
$44.50 - Executive Bonus and compensation
$05.00 - Advertising
$01.00 - Overhead (website, secretary, office facilities)
$00.45 - Lobbyist kickback
$00.05 - Processing charges
$60.00 / year
The accountant is included in the "overhead". The 9 bucks goes to the lawyers ... I know it doesn't sound like much for the poor, badly compensated group working their fingers to the bone to say "Yup, looks like a domain name!", but they will also receive ~65% of the voting stock when the registrar goes public.
I'm not sure I've ever seen the point in this whole bun fight for domain names, after all they are just a dictionary for an IP address, and often the typical user just does a Google search for the company they are looking for and then clicks on the first link. The domain of this link could be a random string of letters and they would still click on it.
What we need is a new hyper-domain registrar that will simply be another layer of lookups on top of the existing one.
e.g. If someone wants The Register they do a request for it from the new hyper-domain registrar who check it's dictionary and find it lives at the domain qwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnm.whocares and redirects to that, whereupon the current system takes over. All the user would see in the address bar is the logo for The Register and then everything in the URL after the domain name. I'm quite sure all the Browsers will jump at the chance to support this wonderful new protocol I just made up.
Ok sure maybe there are some security implications to my new system, but the whole domain name system is just so 1985 and is starting to feel like some sort of corrupt fleecing exercise.
Not sure I agree completely, but can see where (s)he is coming from... Not that it would be something revolutionary or new. After all, if you're old enough to remember paper telephone directories, you know what this could encompass. And yes, there's Google (and others) but this is not an "objective" listing, searchable phone-book-style, but somebody trying to maximise its personal benefit/ profit by manipulating the listing and its users.
Then again, there's also a downside, real-life realisation here. Everybody who has satisfied their curiosity about, or knowledgeability on the "Dark Web" (or knows a friend of a friend who told them about it, but of course would never go to the underbelly of...) must have noticed that onion addresses aren't very helpful either. So yes, objective, old-school phone book address listings could work, but, as everything, this has to be executed properly to work. And with the current day fixation on profitability over usability this seems unlikely...
> must have noticed that onion addresses aren't very helpful either
Completely off-topic, but...
They can actually be quite helpful on sites that are dual-homed onto both the darknet and the WWW though. At least when combined with an Alt-Svc header so that the user's browser makes its next request to https://abcdefghijk.onion but with SNI name and host header www.myoriginalsite.com and shows https://www.myoriginalsite.com in the address bar.
That way you get the benefits of Tor, without
a) consuming any exit node bandwidth
b) your users having to know you've got an onion, remember/record the address and go to that instead
Not that any of that really helps with discoverability of stuff that isn't on the WWW, and wouldn't help if you don't want to buy www.myoriginalsite.com anymore because of price hikes
@Blergh - I think you're sort of right. Think about phone numbers - in the old days it was handy to have a memorable phone number and you could pay extra for it. I used to carry around loads of numbers in my head - but now? Apart from their own and their parents', who remembers, or even keys, phone numbers any more? I can still remember girlfriends' numbers from 40 years ago, but I couldn't even tell you the dial code of my business partner's phone and we speak almost every day.
You could see domain names as the same: decide you want one, apply, get the next random one off the list at a standard price and you're done. The problem with domain names is a bit different. though. I've been involved in setting up a few companies. In the old days the challenge of choosing a relevant and available name wasn't too difficult. Today it's a bit harder cos the name has to be available at Cos House and as a "decent" domain. Branding, marketing, comms, etc. are all geared around the name and in some industries it makes a difference to have "professional" web presence.
I can still remember girlfriends' numbers from 40 years ago, but I couldn't even tell you the dial code of my business partner's phone
I expect that's because our phones now promote "optimizing that out of our brainload" a.k.a. laziness. I still remember plenty of phone numbers, right up until I didn't need to anymore because I wasn't spaced-repetition-style rememorizing them by having to look them up and punch them in. I know, this is all Capt. Obvious stuff, however--
It's an effect first, and then maybe another cause; maybe justifiable, but never a justification.
IMO all numbers are equally memorable and it's the motivators and metadata that set them apart. 739-2500 was our farm in 2nd grade, then we moved back to the city and then back to the farm again halfway through 3rd grade-- 739-2501 when we got it reconnected. Weird, innit?
Not really. Your original number was re-assigned, but the same pair of wires existed between your farm & the CO. When they reconnected the CO end, they punched it into the nearest open pair.
40ish years ago, my brother bought a house in Ukiah, California. When they connected the telephone, he was surprised to discover that it was the same number as the prior owner. He still gets calls for that family occasionally ... and snail-mail. He takes a message on the phone calls and passes them along as a courtesy (they are friends), and uses the junk snailmail as fire starter. Xmas cards, wedding announcements/invites and the like get forwarded. Yes, after 40 years people who supposedly know the former owner STILL haven't updated their address book!
Relying on a search engine for people to find your website might be fine for large corporations who are more than likely to appear at the top of the search.
But this wouldn't work as well for smaller businesses. Imagine a small firm of UK window fitters who have abcwindowfitters.com. If they ditched their domain in favour of something like DF12NOWRVIUHU32.COM you are relying solely on search engines to find the business as the domain means nothing. There might be several business all called ABC Windows that are based in different parts of the world and the domain helps potential customers to find the one they wanted.
Also random domains would make it easier for phishing sites to set up to steal details as they are much more difficult to spot when it is a fake.
Google is actually pretty good at local search.
To give an example, the bus that goes past my house and the bus that goes past my workplace have the same route number, but they are different buses because they are in different cities. If I am at home and type [$routenumber] bus into google, it will direct me to the timetable for the bus that goes past my house, and if I type the exact same thing into google at work, it will direct me to the timetable for the bus that goes past my work.
“Bing's sole reason for existence is to enable people to find Google”
They also offer the ability to preview images allowing otherwise deprived/depraved teenagers* to get around porn filters.
* this may also apply to UK adults in the near future
OK. Can you tell me the IP address for Google without looking it up?
No, but I **CAN** tell you an IP address for their DNS service from memory -- 18.104.22.168 I'm not sure exactly what that means other than that Google doesn't need to make their search IP memorable, but could likely do so if they wished
It means that, you can't put 'google-public-dns-a.google.com' and google-public-dns-b.google.com' in your DNS settings, because you need to have something valid in there before you can resolve such things, therefore they choose to make it memorable because that makes life easier for system administrators.
So someone searches for 'the register' and they get either this page, or 'the register' local paper in Sudan, or they get 'the register' painters and decorators, or they get 'the register' bread makers etc etc.
So when you print on your side of your van the name to search up you have to specify a unique name to lookup therefore you have to register it to ensure it only ever points to your website.
So then you need to pay a company to administer and store those registrations and the same or another to allow security certificate against that registration. However to ensure competition and make sure those unique names are easy to remember then you might set up a few of these 'registries' for your unique name. You can then set up your own pointers to allow for e-mail, ftp, sip or any other service to be accessed, also to allow reverse lookups.
To ensure these all work in the same and and a compliant way then you could set up a non-profit overarching body for it, call it ICANT for instance.
Yep, sounds like a great idea.
"Ok sure maybe there are some security implications to my new system"
We need to talk about this. After this, I hope you have some extra time because I've got to learn the art of the understatement from you. But first, let's discuss the actual security implications of this. There are a lot of them. Whenever data is hidden from users, it becomes easy to make that data they never get to see contain the important part. It's hard to identify domains that are owned by the actual company apart from those registered by scammers with a bit of forethought. How will that change when domains are random sets of characters? Do I need to answer that?
Also, how useful will it be when I suggest you try out a new system by having to say "Well, I suppose if you do a search on [the site name] or you could always go to fa8enozvl3mz90vnae.airforce". Maybe a little harder for you to remember, no? And easier for you to get wrong, yes? And much easier for a scammer to register a bunch of things and SEO them into your search so you will get it wrong and won't be able to find out until it's much later than it should be, yes?
And even without the many security problems, and we've only scratched the tip of the iceberg on that, this system would require another layer of resolution services. Another set of servers. Another DNS query and some extra delay on actually connecting. An extra series of organizations running the thing with entirely unproven trustworthiness. Another layer of power that could make mistakes. Another layer that a user needs to administrate or stick with the OS default.
This idea is very bad. I know it doesn't compare to your understatement, but I'm working on it.
It seems that ICANN are turning domain names into a protection/extortion racket.
"Say, that's a nice domain name you've got there. It would be a shame if something happened to it. Pay us an extra few bucks a month and we'll let you carry on using it."
This is where a government body should step in and ensure customers aren't being screwed.
This is where a government body should step in and ensure customers aren't being screwed
However, it's more likely the political masters of a government body will deduce they can make a fortune by granting exclusive rights over your postal address to their largest donors and making you rent them back if you want to continue receiving your mail.
"Say, that is a nice price hike you implemented. It would be a shame if we started an investigation. But don't worry, if you let us add a tax to it, we will make sure you never have any problems."
Or, You could avoid us imposing a the tax by contributing to our campaign
> This is where a government body should step in and ensure customers aren't being screwed.
So NOW you want Big Daddy to come save you, huh?
Before it was all, "Keep the government out of my life" but when you're faced with the possibility of being screwed by the free market you scream for the sweet embrace of protectionism.
That way leads to enslavement, pal. You have to Take Matters Into Your Own hands and set up your own ICANN (ICANT?).
Wut? And completely violate ICANN's business model?
I like this bit-
.. the price caps are an outdated control mechanism in an increasingly competitive market.
Which I guess is from my old-fashioned view of competition. So causing prices to fall, not rise. But caps prevent poor, hard working registrars from implementing an e-auction when it's time for renewal.
Sadly, consumers generally get ignored, eg people in the UK would remember energy prices rising above $100/barrel for oil that isn't used in our generation. Or ask why prices are still rising when gas prices that are used have been falling.
So much for the 'democratic power' of the internet.
'Aw it isn't fair, we run this but can't make the same kind of money XYZ do with their johnny-come-lately TLDs - lets do something about this...' and of course the money roles up into the few at the expense of the many. As it ever has been, the fucking huge ponzi scheme that we are all born in to, for the most part.
I use a couple of .net domains, one I have had for 19 years. If they come for .net, or rather *when* they do, I lose that. So all the independent of big company emails become difficult to run. So we all just use google/microsoft or whomever for our email. At least it makes it easier to control the burgeoning population of this planet, hey, Government wonks? *
*Where the hell is Amanfrommars? This is right up his street for commenting.
You tick a box to consent to your personal details being used/processed, and then it just fires up your local e-mail client to send an e-mail to email@example.com ... So... how does that consent thing work then, when people can just send in e-mails? Different if they had an on-line form; but using a plain e-mail address means they can't guarantee that people submitting, have given their permission to have their details processed. - Smells like major fail to me.
Typical ... an organisation looking to make more money, it's achieved by doing things on the cheap.
Suppose I own a .com, I would like to be able to choose the registrar that administers it for me on the basis of performance, features and cost. At the moment ICANN chooses one registrar for ten years at a stretch and ICANN don't have the same interests as me (to put it mildly).
Would it be hard to have two or more registrars for a TLD?
The value in a .com address is the result of the effort that the registrant has put into whatever goods or services lie behind it. The registrar has put in very little in terms of the costs of running the registry. If the registry raises the rate on the basis that the name is now more valuable perhaps the owner should invoice them for the work done in making it so.
The article said
"From the perspective of Public Internet Registry (PIR), the non-profit that runs the .org registry, the price caps are an outdated control mechanism in an increasingly competitive market."
but obviously that is buillshit. If it's increasingly competitive then the price caps aren't a problem, because competition is keeping the cost down, not the caps. If someone wants to remove the cap, it's only because they want to charge more than the cap.
"How does that align with monopoly contracts, incumbents blocking new entrants and huge price inflation? Seems like the opposite of competitive to me."
Funny how the US corporate world and government always talk about the "free market". And how their shills always respond to calls for regulation with "if you don't like it, go somewhere else or create your own". Except you can't go elsewhere for your registrar or create your own.
Except you can't go elsewhere for your registrar or create your own.
"If you don't like it, go somewhere else or create your own" ... government? Sure. But with all the land on this planet used, where oh where do us sane folks go to create our paradise free of stupid politicians, greedy megacorps, and panhandling lazy beggars?
Seems like the opposite of competitive to me.
You've all got the wrong end of the competition. The competition is not at the supplier end - it's at the consumer end. That's why you get agencies picking up one-word .com domains for your $10 or whatever and then selling them for 5-figure sums. That's why sex.com sold for $13m. That's the competition that they want to get a slice of.
It's a competitive market indeed, but not at their end, and that's what's pissing them off.
Personally, I think that the registrars should be run as government bodies, or as near as, with a fixed price per domain. Yes there will always be competition for popular domain names, but that doesn't mean the orchard owner wanting to register maabtya.com (because My Apples Are Better Than Your Apples, because apple.com had been taken, and because apples.com would likely get him sued) should be rinsed for it.
>It's a competitive market indeed, but not at their end, and that's what's pissing them off.
But this doesn't actually change that.
If ICANN want to get more than say £10 for sex.com then they need to run the auction - just like the UK DVLA auctions off new personalised vehicle registration plates. However, DVLC don't get a slice of any future resales.
If they want more a slice of any future resale they need to charge a fee/duty based on purchase price - which given ICANN aren't a government department they have no right to know what price a domain name buyer and seller agree won't generate them any revenue.
Additionally, just because someone paid out £13m for sex.com doesn't mean that they are prepared to pay more to ICANN and their mates, for the privilege of keeping sex.com.
It appears that ICANN might be a bit confused about the nature of a "not for profit" corporation and why such corporations are encouraged. Perhaps a bit of taxation -- 100% of their net revenue, say -- might give them some incentive to research the topic. The revenues could perhaps be used to set up a not for profit domain registrar that is a bit less confused about whose interests they serve.
Start moving all your accounts to a free e-mail server.
Every time you visit a website, change the e-mail.
Set up a mail rule, that any e-mail that is addressed to your old e-mail gets highlighted with a flag.
When you receive an e-mail to the old address visit the webiste and change it.
After a few years the non-spam e-mail will dry up and you can be confident you haven't used that e-mail anywhere
Then you can sell the domain name if you want to, or if it gets too expensive just fail to renew it.
Best start preparing now. ICANN is becoming the new FIFA
>I hope that 7% cap on .com renewal stays in place.
Does any one know if ICANN and any .org register have been increasing renewal fees at the maximum rate permitted. A 7% increase every year would result in a doubling of the renewal fee in 10 years.
I suspect that none have been doing so.
So these guys who oversee and administer a shared namespace because everybody agrees to let them do so decide that they may start to extract hugely increased volumes of cash from the majority of the world's online non-profit organisations, and they think the wider community is going to be on board with that? Surely they realise that this way lies increased anarchy and a directly related reduction in their influence? The DNS is a community resource which only functions because the vast majority of the internet community agrees to use it. If it becomes too difficult or expensive to use then people will go elsewhere.
Also, I thought the whole point of the new TLDs was that the existing namespace was running out and was a bit naff, so new super-cool TLDs were thought up and new pricing structures were created for them. I'm the proud owner of several of these new domains, I think they're great. To turn around now and say that they are going to squeeze the old TLDs in addition to the new ones is a big change in direction. So big that I think it is unacceptable.
Most of the new TLDs are worthless. The only exception to that is the country-level ones e.g. .scot and .cymru etc. What else would a Scottish or Welsh organisation use? Many of my customers use .org because they refuse to use .org.uk, but now they start to look to .cymru instead (which they wanted all along)
Nominet seems to be selling domains even cheaper... and they still make a big enough profit to make substantial donations to community projects!
Might be something to do with the fact that the huge cost of running a TLD largely consist of needing to write a couple of APIs and run a few servers.
I am not suggesting DNS infrastructure for a TLD is as cheap as a personal website, but 10million+ .org domains - a quick look at their tax filings showed they have $40mil in expenses relating to running the registry. That is $4 per domain. Anyone know what the $75mil towards "Grants and other assistance to domestic organizations and domestic governments." relates to? Looks to me like there is already plenty of profit margin for them to be literally giving money away...
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I have two .info sites, which are (blimey!) information sites about two of my favourite authors and their books. They are not official sites (though in both cases, I have been told that they are happy for me to run them), so I don't feel right using the ".com" moniker (or .co.uk or similar). ".info" seems right.
I'm happy to pay a few quid a year for each of them. But it's a labour of love. If I have to pay more than a few quid a year, I'll just shut them down - and two useful resources will vanish from the internet.
Trolls and cynical comments aside....
This rise is not based on any research as to the effect on charities or other social groups with limited funds.
On the other hand it is possible to start another global registry and leave ICANN but it would take a stable government effort. Or the EU if countries signed on. And would take 2 or 3 years to get things in place.
If there is one thing I hate more than price gouging by monopolists then its the speculators
that infest the internet domain system like parasites.
And they seem to hat this - so i begin to think this may be a good move after all.
Anything that makes these types miserable is music in my ears. Of course, a pricing plan that is validly anti-speculator would be even better. But maybe this is a start.
There is a way to grab a domain name for a couple days, to see if you like it.
There are companies that watch for name searches and grab those domains and hold them for ransom.
They should have to pay to hold them for even a day. That would cut the dirt bags out of that process.
If you get rid of don't understand the value of domain names look at whitehouse.gov vs whitehouse.sex.
There are dirt bags that camp out on misspellings of popular sites.
Google does not give page rankings for free, so the site would have to pay to be found.
I know of a couple charities and non-profits that have lots of page hits, without generating income.
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