Verisign announced their response to COVID-19 (coronavirus) Wednesday with the two main initiatives for those outside the organisation being a freezing of the registry fee for all their top-level domains, including .com and .net, as well as a $2 million donation to assist organisations respond to the crisis.
The freezing of the registry fee through to the end of 2020 applies to .com, .net, .tv, .cc, .name and the four internationalised domain name new generic top-level domains (IDN new gTLDs) that have entered General Availability. It is being pushed by Verisign as a means to support individuals and small businesses affected by this crisis, although what difference a few dollars makes is questionable. But. Every bit helps.
In addition, Verisign announced they will soon deploy a programme, available to all retail registrars, to provide support and assistance for domain name registrants whose domain names will be expiring in the coming months. Verisign does not have direct relationships with domain name registrants, but we are confident that this program can be delivered through Verisign’s registrar partners to support registrants who are affected by the COVID-19 crisis.
As most of Verisign’s employees are located in the Reston, Virginia, USA, area, Verisign have announced their $2 million donation to first responders and medical personnel in the Northern Virginia area, the United Way’s COVID-19 relief efforts, and the Semper Fi and America’s Fund. In addition, effective immediately, Verisign is doubling the company’s funding to its matching programme for employee giving, so more employee donations to support COVID-19 response will be matched by Verisign.
In addition, Verisign have polished up their response to a crisis. In their announcement on the Verisign blog, the company said while the issues posed by COVID-19 are unprecedented, they fall within their standard preparation for disruption caused by local, regional and global events. Verisign’s readiness plans, which are routinely exercised, include the ability to maintain critical internet infrastructure with most employees working remotely. Verisign maintains multiple redundant operations centres, as well as hundreds of service locations distributed worldwide across six continents. Verisign’s diverse domain name system (DNS) infrastructure is not dependent on a single type of technology, vendor, or power source at a given location, and Verisign technical teams across the globe are able to perform key functions from multiple locations. Verisign note they are prepared to continue to operate all their services, including registry services for .com and .net and root operations at the rigorous standards of performance governed by ICANN, even in the demanding environment created by COVID-19.
And like many companies, Verisign has implemented actions to protect their employees with a number of changes, including restricting travel in February, quarantine and isolation when warranted, modifying their sick leave policy and directing the vast majority of employees to work from home starting on 11 March.
New cleaning and health safety protocols to protect employees who must remain on site supporting key infrastructure operations functions have also been introduced. At the time of the blog’s publication, no COVID-19 cases had been reported within Verisign’s global workforce.