Frustrated by low pricing amid a booming domain economy, registrars have responded by seeking to get a larger cut of the resale of expiring domains, raising fees for domain backorders and creating auction services for “dropped” names. Examples include Network Solutions partnering with SnapNames on a preferred backorder service that allows existing NetSol customers first shot at expiring names, and Go Daddy’s creation of The Domain Name Aftermarket auction service.
Registrars’ ability to raise base prices for new domains may hinge on their relationship with hosting companies, who are generally their largest resellers. Some hosting companies are already reselling domains at a loss, seeing it as a cheaper alternative to pay-per-click advertising, where hosting-related keywords go for $5 or more per click. Registrars may gamble that some hosting resellers would absorb a price increase as the cost of doing business. But price hikes could also move motivate hosts who currently resell domains to obtain their own ICANN accreditation and become registrars, a step recently taken by The Planet and EV1 Servers, who each host more than 1 million hostnames.