• United States
Contributing Writer

Domains to go

Mar 11, 20033 mins
Amazon.comEnterprise Applications

* Amazon latest Web site to be allowed to sell domains

Would you like a domain with your book? That’s the question customers might be facing in the near future. The e-tailer has been given the go-ahead by the International Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers to act as a registrar of domains.

However, if you head to the company’s approved registration URL ( you’ll find only recommendations to buy “Domains for Dummies” and “Domain Names.” joins the ranks of companies like and AOL that have applied for and have been granted approval to sell domains online ( The process is costly, to say the least. But companies applying for registrar status are hoping it will increase traffic to their sites and provide an add-on service for customers.

To become a registrar, companies must first send in an application with a $2,500 nonrefundable fee. The application includes questions about an applicant’s business plan, how it intends to maintain electronic copies of transactions, correspondence and communications with customers, and ability to provide real-time access to customer information. The application also requests information about a business’ infrastructure security and how the applicant will prevent hacking. All in all, there are 15 questions about an applicant’s ability to sell and service domain name transactions. Finally, there are questions regarding the financial stability of the company and the conduct of corporate executives.

The $2,500 application fee is just the tip of iceberg as far as costs go. A registrar must pay $4,000 per year for the first top-level domain it wants to be accredited to sell into (.com, .net, etc.,) and $500 for each additional one. The applicant must also prove that it has $70,000 in working capital to commit to the project. ICANN verifies this commitment by requesting an independently verified financial statement.

Finally, there is an undisclosed amount that each approved registrar must pay to help ICANN with its operating expenses. ICANN notes this as variable.

So what’s the benefit for e-tailers to get into this game?  At one point, there was a belief in the industry, and I think it could still happen, that e-tailers (not just domain sites) would offer domains for free, but charge for services around the domains. For instance, Web hosting, access to inventory, etc. It’s yet another way for e-tailers to attract customers to their sites and encourage repeat-visits. If you have a domain, chances are you’re going to want to tend to it often, which means working closely with the company that sold it to you. Not a bad business. Just look at Verisign’s success in this arena.

To find out more about the ICANN registrar process, visit