Verisign reported its fourth quarter and 2020 financial results Thursday and the highlight that will get most attention is the increase in the annual registry-level wholesale fee for each new and renewal .com domain name, which will increase by 7%, from $7.85 to $8.39, effective 1 September, 2021.
In March 2020 Verisign pledged not to increase the registry fee for any of the top-level domains they manage, which includes .com, in 2020 as a way of assisting registrants during the Coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic. However as per the Cooperative Agreement signed with the Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) back in 2018, Verisign is able to increase the registry fee by to 7% for .com domain names in each of the last four years of the six-year term of the Agreement. Verisign has forgone the opportunity to increase the registry fee in 2020, but can do so in each of the 3 remaining years of this current Agreement.
Verisign ended the fourth quarter of 2020 with 165.2 million .com and .net domain names under management, a 4.0% increase from the end of the fourth quarter of 2019, and a net increase of 1.46 million registrations during the fourth quarter of 2020.
In the fourth quarter of 2020, Verisign processed 10.5 million new domain name registrations for .com and .net, as compared to 10.3 million for the same quarter in 2019.
The final .com and .net renewal rate was 73.7 percent for the third quarters of 2020 and 2019. Renewal rates are not fully measurable until 45 days after the end of the quarter.
In their financial results, Verisign doesn’t breakdown .com and .net DUM, but in recent years .com has continued its onward growth while .net has been holding steady or declining. A breakdown in .com and .net registrations will come in Verisign’s quarterly Domain Name Industry Brief.
For the year, Verisign reported revenue of $1.27 billion, up 2.7% from $1.23 billion in 2019. There was a net income of $815 million and diluted EPS of $7.07 for 2020 reported, compared to net income of $612 million and diluted EPS of $5.15 in 2019. The operating margin for 2020 was 65.2 percent compared to 65.5 percent in 2019.
“Reliance on internet services increased significantly due to the global events of 2020. Our resilient network design and preparedness over decades for challenging scenarios, and our agility and preparation for working remotely, enabled us to reliably and securely meet increased global dependence on the internet,” said Jim Bidzos, Executive Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, in a statement.