Department of Commerce renews VeriSign control of com registrations, demands a price freeze

In many ways, VeriSign has been one of the internet's true arbiters. It's ICANN's official registry operator for .com domains, which lets it determine how (and how much) we pay to get a particularly coveted address. As we're learning, the US Department of Commerce is only comfortable with that state of affairs to a certain point. It just approved a deal renewal that will let VeriSign watch over .com between December 1st this year and November 30th, 2018, but it's requiring that the company drop a previous right to hike registration prices as many as four times, at up to 7 percent, over the length of the term. The current $7.85 price will last unless VeriSign either faces exceptional circumstances or can prove that the market is healthy enough to lift the ceiling. We're sure the business isn't happy when the DOC move dictates how much money it can make, but compulsive domain hunters will enjoy the extra dollars in their pockets.

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Verisign Announces US Department of Commerce Approval of Newly Revised .com Registry Agreement

RESTON, VA--(Marketwire - Nov 30, 2012) - VeriSign, Inc. (NASDAQ: VRSN), the trusted provider of Internet infrastructure services for the networked world, today announced the U.S. Department of Commerce approved the renewal of Verisign's agreement with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) to serve as the authoritative registry operator for the .com registry (the "2012 .com Registry Agreement") for the term commencing on Dec. 1, 2012 through Nov. 30, 2018 with certain new terms and conditions. The Commerce Department determined the 2012 .com Registry Agreement is in the public interest under Amendment 30 of the Cooperative Agreement between the Commerce Department and Verisign. Verisign also announced the execution of the 2012 .com Registry Agreement by both ICANN and Verisign.

The Commerce Department's approval of the 2012 .com Registry Agreement contains important new terms and conditions. First, Verisign's current pricing of $7.85 per domain name registration will continue for the six-year term of the Agreement. Second, Verisign no longer has the right to four price increases of up to seven percent over the six-year term. Price increases are limited to circumstances based on the imposition of new Consensus Policy or extraordinary expenses related to security or stability threats, and now require Commerce Department prior approval. Finally, pricing restrictions may be removed entirely if Verisign demonstrates to the Commerce Department's satisfaction that market conditions no longer warrant such restrictions.

"This is an important event that provides certainty and sets a clear direction for the Company," said Jim Bidzos, executive chairman, president and chief executive officer for Verisign. "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."

Verisign continues to operate the .com registry with unsurpassed security and reliability. With continued innovation and investments in its infrastructure, Verisign has been able to meet the performance and scalability demands of .com. The company has and continues to implement critical technical enhancements for .com, such as IPv6 and DNSSEC support, to ensure the integrity and availability of the Internet Domain Name System (DNS).

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