Can becoming an ICANN accredited Registrar save you money?

[Last Updated on Oct 27th, 2013]

Since many companies often mostly concentrate on the perceived cost savings of becoming an ICANN accredited registrar, we felt it would be a good idea to summarize the actual cost of maintaining an ICANN accredited registrar.

For smaller domain portfolio holders, this may actually not hold true – becoming an ICANN accredited registrar may initially increase the cost of holding the domains. However there are other advantages that should be taken into consideration, such as the improved security & control for your premium domain holdings held with your own registrar and even the right to participate a little more in ICANN politics.

One time fees due at the time of application

  • $3,500.00 USD non-refundable application fee (not considered in the financial exercise below)

Quarterly/Monthly Fees & Dues

  • Variable ICANN Fee, billed quarterly as set in the ICANN budget and divided by the number of registrars. For smaller registrars this fee usually ranges between $800 USD and $1,200.00 USD per quarter.
  • Fixed annual accreditation fee, $4,000.00 USD. These fees are first invoiced after your new registrar has become accredited.

Ongoing Cost

  • Registry Registration Fees per Domain Name Year (currently $7.85 for .COM)
  • Per Domain Name Year (registration, renewal, transfer) ICANN Fee (currently $0.18)

Other Considerations

  • ICANN requires the applicant to provide proof of at least $70,000.00 USD in working capital. (This amount does not need to be transferred to ICANN.)
  • ICANN required Commercial General Liability Insurance coverage of at least $500,000.
  • The individual registries may require additional pre-paid deposits and proof of available working capital.
  • The cost of licensing and running a registrar system.

In other words, your annual fees for maintaining most basic accreditation for just the COM gTLD are as follows:

  • $4,000 annual accreditation fee
  • $1,000 * 4 quarterly fee (mid-low range assumed)
  • ca. $1,000 commercial liability insurance (can be as low as $500)
  • Total $9,000.00 fixed cost per year

The base cost for a .COM domain name would be $7.85 + $0.18 ICANN fee, $8.03. Let’s assume that your current registrar charges you $9.00 per domain name year (including all fees), a difference of $0.97 of your base price. In order to get to the same price, you will have to process at least 9,279 (about $9,000 annual cost divided by $0.97) domain name years through your registrar to match the price of $9.00.

Please note that the actual number can be even higher, since this calculation does not include the cost of running a technology solution for an accredited registrar.

Last modified: November 14, 2016 / Created: Wednesday, August 13th, 2008

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