ICANN announces plans to enable cross-ownership of Registries and Registrars

A surprise resolution passed at the ICANN board’s retreat in early November could enable registries such as VeriSign to acquire registrars such as Go Daddy, and vice-versa.

The new rules will also allow registrars to apply for and run new top-level domains and, subject to additional conditions, may enable existing registries to eventually start selling direct to end users, potentially bypassing the registrar channel.

The implications of these changes could be enormous, and it is expected that there to be some significant challenges from the affected parties. However it is believed that new TLD registries will undoubtedly benefit from not having to work exclusively within the existing registrar channel in order to sell their domains.

There are concerns that consumers will be harmed by registrars having access to registry data, although some believe consumers will actually be better protected through compliance programs that come about as a result of cross ownership.
The details regarding changes to cross ownership will be included in the next Applicant Draft Guidebook. In the meantime further information from the meeting can be read here.