The operator of the .com registry, Verisign, has just signed a new contract with the U.S. Commerce Department. The new contract has terms that stipulate that the company can not raise fees for .com registration unless the Commerce Department approves of them. The latter say they plan to only approve increases for "extraordinary expenses related to security or stability threats."
The price increases will be prevented until 2018. Verisign has raised prices, sometimes by as much as 7 percent, four out of the past six years. The current price is at $7.85 per year and is likely to remain at or close to that amount. Ironically, the similar .net TLD is only $5.86 to register, even though they require the same technology to operate.
The key difference is that .net is a far less popular TLD than .com. This is strictly a case of supply and demand as opposed to any sort of operational cost difference. "This is an important event that provides certainty and sets a clear direction for the company," Jim Bidzos, Verisign's CEO, said in a prepared statement.