Department of Commerce approves revised Verisign agreement

The US Department of Commerce has approved Verisign's renewal with ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assinged Names and Numbers) to operate as the operator for the .com registry. Under the renewal, VeriSign will no longer be allowed to institute four price hikes of up to 7-percent during the renewal duration. A couple exceptions are in place, but it looks like .com domains are pretty much locked at $7.85.

There are a couple of exceptions to the price stipulation, however. Prices can be increased if VeriSign can show "extraordinary expenses" that pertain to stability threats or that are related to security expenses. Even so, the approval for price increases would still have to be approved by the Department of Commerce. Otherwise, the new pricing rules will be lifted if VeriSign can show that the market has improved to such a degree that the price freeze is not needed.

The price freeze is for the duration of the renewal, which ends in 2018. The agreement begins on December 1. In the third quarter of this year, VeriSign pushed through nearly 8 million .com and .net name registrations, which was a 1.1-percent drop from the same period last year. This announcement comes after VeriSign stated that it plans to lower its revenue prospects.

Verisign's President, CEO and executive chairman Jim Bidzos offered this statement. "This is an important event that provides certainty and sets a clear direction for the Company. This certainty, combined with our strong portfolio of assets, which includes broad DNS expertise, a combined total of more than 200 unique patents and patent applications in the U.S., the world's most reliable registry, and over $1.4 billion in cash, positions us well to participate in the growing global market for Internet registry and infrastructure services."