Registrar Offers Free Personal Domains

The bottom is about to fall out of Internet domain name pricing.
While most domain registrars accredited by the Internet Corp. for Assigned Names and Numbers charge around $70 for a two-year registration, a California start-up says it’s taking pre-registrations for .com, .net. and .org domains for the amazingly low price of zero. Inc., which was recently accredited by ICANN, plans to go live with its NameZero service by the end of November.

The company is targeting consumers who want to build what it calls Personal Portals — combining email, homepages, and other services under their own domain hosted on iDirection’s servers. In exchange for the free domain and hosting, NameZero users must agree to allow the company to place advertising and ecommerce links on the bottom of their pages.

“Three years ago I don’t think our technology and our idea would have made sense. But you have this explosion in free services, a land-rush mentality toward domains, and a trend towards personalization and people wanting to create their own Internet experience. Because of that evolution of the net, we’ve put together a valuable group of services to people,” said Bruce Keiser, president and co-founder of iDirections.

Keiser predicts the firm will sign up a million members in the first nine months after the service goes live.

iDirection’s partners include hosting company Exodus Communications, e-mail firm Critical Path and search and portal site InfoSpace.

In a statement, ICANN Chief Executive Officer Mike Roberts said iDirections is the latest example of how the entrance of new domain registrars is benefiting Internet users.

“The speed with which and the other ICANN-accredited registrars have responded with exciting new services and offerings is a testament to the power of competition.”

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