ICANN Domain Fees and Strategic Plan

I am sure just about everyone has heard about the proposed annual domain fees on .net domain holders, and ultimately .com, .biz and others from ICANN.

In a recent story on CNet, it was reported 75 cent annual fee will begin sometime in 2005. This should add approximately $4 million into ICANN’s coffers, with a purported additional $30 million or more if they expand the fee to additional top-level domain suffixes.

On the one hand — this is similar to the method US utility providers use to raise budget dollars — which in this case would keep domain management partially out of governmental funding (and subsequent oversight to an extent). The flip side is this ends up being a tax on the shoulders of individual domain holders. The ICANN has not yet been through a year without controversy, and this will surely make 2005 another tumultuous year for the group.

In other ICANN news, the organization has extended a public comment period through February for its Strategic Plan that will guide its allocation of resources and mission goals for three years through 2007.

Like them or hate them — ICANN is unlikely to close up shop. This is an opportunity for global comment into the group’s budgeting, targeted goals and projects. While planning documents are not always a thrilling, easy read, if ICANN reaps the rewards of domain fees noted above, they will have significant cash prowess and perhaps even more dramatic impacts on the overall Internet.

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