The .net domain registry will remain under the management and operation of Verisign until at least 2017.
ICANN has renewed its agreement with Verisign, which was last renewed in 2005. The 2005 bidding process for .net was a competitive one with at least five bidders involved. In contrast, for the 2011 renewal, there was not a competitive bid process for .net.
"Part of that 2005 agreement included a presumptive right of renewal that all gTLDs now have in their agreements which is designed to encourage continued investment in Internet critical infrastructure such as .net," Pat Kane, senior vice president and general manager of Naming Services at Verisign, told InternetNews.com. "Verisign met all requirements to enact this presumptive right of renewal which extended Verisign as the registry operator for .net through 2017.
Kane noted that Verisign was not going to be disclosing the financial value of the .net contract. That said, Kane said that the terms of the new contract are substantially similar to the existing terms.
"The contract maintains the current pricing provisions and allows Verisign to increase the price of a .net domain registration by up to 10 percent in each calendar year during the term of the agreement through June 30, 2017," Kane said.
The .net Top Level Domain (TLD) is the third most popular domain in use today behind .com and .de. The .net TLD has more than 13 million .net domain names currently registered according to Verisign. The domain name business is a growing one, according to the latest Domain Name Industry Brief from VeriSign. For the first quarter of 2011, Verisign reported that there were 209.8 million domain registered in total, for a 7.9 percent year-over-year increase in registrations.
The other big TLD that VeriSign manages is .com, which is also managed by way of a contract with ICANN. Kane noted that the .net and .com contracts are two independent agreements.
"The .com contract is up for renewal at the end of 2012," Kane said. "There is no set timeframe in the contract for us to begin discussions with ICANN, but we will do so with sufficient lead-time in advance of renewal."
The .com agreement could well follow a similar path to the one that .net has taken as the two agreements aren't all that different.
"Except with respect to the need for Department of Commerce approval under the Cooperative Agreement, the terms governing the renewal of both the .net and .com agreements are similar," Kane said.