Verisign’s .net contract up for public comment

ICANN intends to renew Verisign’s contract to run the .net gTLD and has opened the revised deal for public comment.

At first glance, there doesn’t appear to be anything massively controversial about the proposed changes, so we probably shouldn’t expect the same kind of outrage similar contract renewals have solicited in the past.

A great deal of the changes relate to the sunsetting of the Whois protocol and its replacement with the functionally similar RDAP, something set to become part of all gTLD contracts, legacy and new, soon.

The only money-related change of note is the agreement that Verisign will pay pro-rated portions of the $0.75 annual ICANN transaction fee when it sells its Consolidate service, which allows registrants to synchronize their expiry dates for convenience.

That provision is already in the .com contract, and Verisign has agreed to back-date the payments to May 1, 2020, around about the same time the .com contract was signed.

The controversial side-deal under which Verisign agreed to pay ICANN $4 million a year for five years is also being amended, but the duration and amount of money do not appear to be changing.

The new Registry Agreement also includes Public Interest Commitments for the first time. Verisign has agreed to two PICs common to all new gTLD RAs governing prohibitions on abusive behaviors.

The deal would extent Verisign’s oversight for six years, to June 30, 2029. It’s open for public comment until May 25.

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