By Spencer Swartz
VeriSign Inc., the top manager of Internet domain names that allow
people to find and surf Web sites, will keep control of Internet
addresses that end in .net for six more years, the group that oversees
Internet address allocation said on Thursday.
The decision was expected after VeriSign in March got a tentative nod
for the continued operation of the .net registry, which has provided
VeriSign with about $20 million annually in revenue.
VeriSign beat four other applicants for the registry, said the
Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, or ICANN, the
private-public Internet oversight group.
VeriSign's current agreement for .net was scheduled to expire on June
30. Under VeriSign's new contract, which takes effect in July, the
company will charge $4.25 annually for a new .net registry from $6
The .net registry is a relatively small part of total Internet domain
registrations, accounting for 7 percent of all domain name
registration. The .com registry accounts for 47 percent of all domain
name registrations, according to the company.
VeriSign retains the rights to the .com registry until 2007 when it
will have to renew that contract, which provides the company with
about $200 million annually in revenue.
Analysts have generally believed that losing the .net registry would
have been more of a "headline" risk than a big revenue or profit
problem to VeriSign.
VeriSign took over the .net registry in 2000 after it bought Network
Solutions, which had been running the domain.
VeriSign, through a spokesman, said it was pleased with ICANN's
decision and would continue to make investments in operating Internet
In April, the company said it will add high-powered computer servers
that deliver up Web pages to users' browsers over the next two years
to meet increased Internet use in emerging markets such as Brazil,
India and eastern and central Europe.
VeriSign, which posted about $1.2 billion in revenues in 2004, is also
a top provider of ringtones, and processes millions of e-commerce
transactions every day for thousands of businesses who effectively
outsource their online payment systems to VeriSign.
VeriSign's stock on Thursday closed up 2 cents at $30.82 on
Nasdaq. The stock's 52-week high is $36.09.
Copyright 2005 Reuters Limited.
NOTE: For more telecom/internet/networking/computer news from the
daily media, check out our feature 'Telecom Digest Extra' each day at
http://telecom-digest.org/td-extra/more-news.html . Hundreds of new
[TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: I would hope that as ICANN sets up
these new registrar contracts they would be insisting on certain
conditions to protect the integrity of the net. Probably they are
not, however. Just allow things to go like status-quo at present
which is considered 'good enough'. PAT]