Domain prices should go down, not up

Domain prices should go down, not up

Summary: The decision last April by Verisign -- due to become effective this October -- to raise the fee for both .com and .

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TOPICS: Browser
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The decision last April by Verisign -- due to become effective this October -- to raise the fee for both .com and .net domain names hardly created a fuzz in the online community presumably because consumers thought the hike was justified after years of unchanged rates.

But here in the Philippines, the price increase has sent a chilling effect to those who have conscientiously followed the oppressive way in which a private company has managed .ph, the country code top level domain (ccTLD).

Observers said Verisign's move may give DotPH, which performs the dual (and conflicting) role as registrar and administrator, the idea to again jack up its already bloated domain rates.

For reasons it keeps only to itself, DotPH charges an outrageous US$70 for two years for registration of a .ph domain name (it's actually US$35 a year but there's no option for single-year registration). This is far costlier even if compared to the latest adjusted price imposed by Verisign at US$6.42 for .com domains and US$3.85 for .net domains.

It really looks absurd, if not downright silly, for a ccTLD to be more expensive than a top-level domain such as .net or .com. But that's exactly the case in the Philippines. I'm speaking from experience since I manage the Web sites (cyberpress.org.ph and pscijourn.org.ph) of two journalist organizations in which I'm a member.

This practice has been going for a long time now that critics have become exasperated of complaining against the company and its owner, Joel Disini, who was smart enough to get the rights to manage the ccTLD during the early years of the Internet in the country.

Even the government, through the Commission on Information and Communications Technology (CICT), has miserably failed to compel Disini's DotPH to be subjected to regulation. The CICT has been toothless in its attempts to make the company choose being a registrar only or just an administrator.

By keeping both positions, the private firm has become the overlord of Philippine Internet society with no accountability whatsoever to any regulatory body.

Thus, as a virtual monopoly, it has arbitrarily set and raised the prices of what is arguably a national patrimony. Heck, it even tried to peddle the .ph domain to phone companies in the same mold as .tv domain is being sold to television stations or companies. Fortunately, that treason-like venture did not take off the ground.

If previous efforts failed to rein in this folly, then maybe the local Internet community can use the principle of eminent domain to lodge a complaint in the court, preferably the Supreme Court, for relief.

I'm no lawyer but if my limited knowledge of the law is correct, the legal maxim of eminent domain refer to the inherent power of the State to acquire or expropriate a private property--even without the owner's consent--for the common good.

The ccTLD is, in fact, more than just a private property which the Philippine government ought to seize for the benefit of more Filipinos--but at a just compensation. It cannot, and must not, allow this national resource to reside in private hands whose only intent is to use it for monetary gains.

Topic: Browser

Melvin G. Calimag

About Melvin G. Calimag

Melvin G. Calimag is currently the executive editor of an IT news website in the Philippines. Melvin has been covering the local IT beat for the last 13 years. He is currently a board member at the IT Journalists Association of the Philippines (CyberPress), and also serves as a charter member with the Philippine Science Journalists Association.

Joel D. Pinaroc

About Joel D. Pinaroc

Joel has been a media practitioner since 1996, starting off as a reporter and eventually becoming editor of a pioneering IT trade newspaper in Manila. He is currently one of the content producers of a Manila-based developmental website.

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8 comments
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  • Hi Melvin,

    Some comments on your op-ed piece.

    1. There won't be a price increase for .PH domains -- regardless of what Verisign has done.

    2. There hasn't been a price increase in the past eight years. I don't know of any product or service that costs the same today as it did in 1999.

    3.There were never attempts to "peddle the .ph domain to phone companies" -- who, incidentally, have as much right to register any available domain as you do. There was a technical initiative that would have let .PH domains work seamlessly with mobile phones, but I'm not sure if that qualifies as a "treason-like venture".

    4. Actually, ALL ccTLDs are more expensive than .net or .com. I guess they're all "downright silly".

    Hope this helps.

    Cheers,
    Emil Avancena
    DotPH
    anonymous
  • Yes, it's true, there was no big change in price for .ph domains. The Philippines has not moved on. It stayed, while other domains have already dropped prices, in order to encourage owning a dot com. We can't be proud of the Philippines in the internet community because it's too costly to register a .ph domain. When are you going to move on dot ph? Market now the .ph domains wisely, effectively, and efficiently. Apply cost-volume-profit. Lower your price, for sure, you will have a lot of friends.
    anonymous
  • Yes that's true .ph domain gets costly and higher. Considering that it is a Philippine TLD(Top Level Domain) but the price can be compared to that of dollars and even pounds. Can you please low down the .ph domain registration.
    anonymous
  • Yes that's true .ph domain gets costly and higher. Considering that it is a Philippine TLD(Top Level Domain) but the price can be compared to that of dollars and even pounds. Can you please low down the .ph domain registration.
    anonymous
  • own a ph sub domain. its cheap or free .ph sub domain regisrtration at mycom.ph
    anonymous
  • Domain prices should go down, not up

    If its any consolation there are reseller companies like Infinity that offer .ph domains for as low as $29 /yr for transfer renewals. And an option for 1 year and 6 year registrations.
    anonymous
  • During this time, Pawnshops is the.........

    Think pawnshops, and you probably conjure up old jewelry, desperate customers, and seedy storefronts. Hardly, it would seem the ingredients for innovation. You don't have to feel bad if you need a payday loan. The government does. It's not the fact that so many citizens don't trust banks anymore. Even though we, the citizens, think that the interest rates are too high, research doesn't seem to be conducted on any real payday loan stores. More and more middle class people aren't going to the old avenues for their short term loans anymore. It's a mystery then, when officials declare that what the market demand clearly is, that being <a href="http://personalmoneystore.com/moneyblog/2009/02/05/recession-payday-loan-pawnshops/">payday loans</a>, is immoral and has to be stopped, and it makes a person wonder just where they got campaign contributions from.
    anonymous
  • Domain prices should go down, not up

    I think that national resource is to reside in private hands whose only intent is to use it for monetary gains. Its really costly for the people.
    anonymous