Equity is a provider of equity for middle market corporate acquisitions. VeriSign retained a 15% equity
stake in the company.
Had this sale been accomplished, by May 2001, VeriSign would have received an
automatic extension as the registry for
In the absence of a sale by that date,
however, VeriSign was required to transfer
by the end 2002 and agree to have the
registry open to
competitive rebid during 2005. This is a significant development in terms of the subject of this paper. It
underlines the point that ICANN needs to make allocative decisions over existing resources as well as any
consideration over the creation and allocation of new resources.
Following the reforms introduced by ICANN, to open the registrar market to competition, Network
Solutions market share has fallen from 100% to around 21% (
Figure 6. Changes in Network Solutions market share from July 2001 to December 2003
: OECD, based on Registry Monthly Reports.
One other aspect of the registrar segment of the registration market structure may need to be
considered by ICANN. The introduction of sTLDs has created some registries aimed at relatively small
communities. In these cases it may be difficult for small registries to attract the interest of registrars,
because of the low potential volume of sales, and the need for authentication in the case of restricted
registries. One option ICANN could consider is allowing registries serving relatively small communities to
offer services direct to users. One way to accomplish this would be to set a threshold level of registrations
below which direct services to users would be permitted. This might take place alongside service from
accredited registrars, or in the case of very small registries, be an exclusive right as long as registrations
fell below the threshold.
At the time of writing all registrations under sTLDs need to be made via ICANN accredited registrars.
ICANN does allow sponsors to register a certain number of names for their own use. In the case
, the sponsor can register up to 1 000 names for their own use. The registry can not, however,
offer direct services to their community. For the future, if a greater number of sTLDs are introduced, it
could be worth considering a threshold below which direct services could be offered. A large number of
ccTLD registries offer services direct to users. There may, of course, need to be contractual safeguards if
such a measure was introduced to prevent any misuse of such a system. One such safeguard would be to
specify the maximum price that could be charged prior to reaching the threshold.