Verisign (NASDAQ: VRSN) reported earnings yesterday. Stock is down close to 4% today. The company expects the renewal rate for third-quarter 2020 to be around 73.4%. I thought this was interesting the number of domain names up for renewal in Q4 is 34.8 million.
Yahoo provided a transcript of the earnings call. Two questions they addressed themselves before Q&A opened were the following:
First question, are there any updates regarding your plans to use the limited pricing flexibility you have for .com?
No update from what we said last quarter. We still expect to effectuate the dot-com wholesale price increase before October 25, 2021, and the prices for all of our TLDs are frozen through March 31, 2021.
Second question. Are there any updates on the status of .web?
As we noted last quarter, a final hearing was scheduled in August. The hearing took place in early August. The participants, including VeriSign, then submitted their post hearing briefs.
A final decision from the panel may be issued later this year or early next year. As a reminder, VeriSign is not a party in these IRP proceedings but was granted the right to participate in certain limited aspects.
Also, as a reminder, an IRP under ICANN’s bylaws is for the purpose of ensuring that ICANN followed its own policies and procedures when making decisions.
Our expectation is that following the resolution of the IRP, the ICANN Board will make a final decision on the delegation of the .Web TLD.
And now we’ll open the call for your questions. Operator, we’re ready for the first question.
During the Q&A Nicholas Freeman Jones of Citigroup Inc., Research Division – Asked if management could expand a little bit more on .web.
Can you expand on the decision that’s, I guess, coming either later this year or early next year, I guess, in terms of is this kind of a definitive decision that puts this matter to rest?
Or is it more of a decision to potentially extend the matter longer?
Executive Chairman & CEO D. James Bidzos, answered the question.
Well, we’re waiting to hear the final resolution of this IRP. And just as a reminder, this IRP, this form of arbitration, is used in the ICANN community actually involves 2 parties primarily.
That’s Afilias who’s essentially the plaintiff here and ICANN who is the defendant. And as I mentioned in the question that I asked and answered, this is about whether ICANN follows its own policies of procedures when it makes decisions. So that is what the panel will decide.
And our expectation, as I said, is that following that resolution, the ICANN board then — the matter will be returned to ICANN for its process, which is to make a final decision on the delegation of the .web TLD. So that’s the expectation.
As in any litigation, it’s really not proper to speculate on those outcomes, obviously, when something is pending.
But we do know in the process, what’s pending here, which is a decision by the panel. And they have the final hearing what’s scheduled and it was held. And of course, as a participant, but not a litigant, so to speak, we were there at the table.
So we’re waiting. Hopefully, by the end of this year or early next year. We will hear from the panel.
They will answer the allegations by the plaintiff, Affilias, against ICANN and then the matter should be handed to the ICANN Board for resolution on the .web issue. That’s our expectation.
And that’s what we hope to see, and then we’ll certainly share with you what we know, when we know it beyond that.