RealTime IT News

Domain Name Fee Increase Set

Starting this October 15, VeriSign will increase the registration fee it charges for the popular .com and .net domain names. The .com fee, currently $6, will go to $6.42 while .net will rise to $3.85 from the current $3.50.

Last November, VeriSign reached an agreementwith ICANN  to continue managing the .com registry until 2012. Under the deal, VeriSign is allowed to raise wholesale domain name prices in four of the next six years (as of 2006). A number of the largest domain registrars, including GoDaddy, Network Solutions, Tucows, Register.com and BulkRegister, protested against the deal, but to no avail.

By some estimates, the deal, including the price increases, will bring as much as $3 billion in revenue to VeriSign over the period of the agreement. This is the first registry fee increase for .com and .net since the fee structure was put in place by ICANN in 1999.

VeriSign has argued it needs the fee increases to build up its security and support infrastructure and keep up with the wildly expanding growth of the Internet. VeriSign CEO Stratton Sclavos detailed the growing security threat and VeriSign's infrastructure plans at the RSA Conference in February.

As part of its $100 million Project Titan, VeriSign said it plans to increase its current 20 gigabits per second (Gbps) capacity to more than 200Gbps. The company will also expand the number of daily DNS  queries it can process from 400 billion to 4 trillion. VeriSign now receives 24 billion DNS queries each day.

The DNS capacity is important, because a denial-of-service  attack often attempts to overwhelm a system by flooding it with queries.

VeriSign also plans to reduce Internet latency and increase redundancy by opening more than 80 new Regional Internet Resolution sites. The new sites, in locations such as India, Germany, Chile and South Africa, will join current regional systems, including Korea, China, Brazil, Kenya and Egypt.

"What you're seeing is a real globalization of the infrastructure," VeriSign spokesman Tom Galvin told internetnews.com. "This helps with local access and also with the reliability of the infrastructure globally."

Galvin said a growing threat is coming from machine-to-machine interactions. "There is a finite ability for an individual or people to try and abuse the DNS on a day-to-day basis, but machines interacting with each other can really turn things up."

Galvin recalled there was a major attack on several root server operators in 2002 that threatened to at least partially paralyze the Internet.

"Those kind of attacks happen every day now, but we shrug it off because the infrastructure is fortified and developed," said Galvin. "But the attacks today are more sophisticated. It's a constant cat and mouse game."