1 Name: Anonymous : 2013-11-29 18:29
I was looking up prices on domains, a .info domain is a dollar. An .is domain is fifty dollars! I'd much rather have an .is domain since it's Iceland controlled and not American, but damn. That's steep! Why is it like this in the first place?
2 Name: Anonymous : 2013-11-29 20:23
This is an interesting question!
Okay, so, first we want to figure out where these domains are coming from. There's no UN body that decides this stuff (although the ITU wants to take it over). Instead, a non-profit organization called ICANN runs the central Domain Name System servers and decides who gets what IP addresses and top-level domains. The internet was born as a US military research project, and as it grew into its own the US government handed off those responsibilities to a third party, ICANN, which is supposed to represent all the stakeholders of the internet in a fair, neutral way.
So is it ICANN deciding this? Nope. They don't handle the day-to-day operation of each top-level domain. Instead, they contract each TLD out to a registry. The national TLDs are selected in cooperation with the national governments, since the entire point of the national TLDs is that they're subject to local laws and such. The other TLDs are handled with long-term contracts decided on through competition.
So is these registrars? Yep, a little of them and a little of the national governments. The registrars typically decide on their own policies, including prices, who's allowed to buy a domain, and what names you can get, although some governments also dictate policies through statute law or civil service directive. The considerations that go into pricing for each individual registrar are the typical economic ones, based on their particular market. Remember as an international domain shopper, you're in the minority, most country domains are bought by local residents.
Most big registrars don't sell directly, but they license retail sales to smaller subregistrars, which is who you're typically buying from. Because they're totally fungible (getting a .com from GoDaddy and a .com from gandi.net is about the same), the price tends to drift towards the cost the subregistrar pays per domain.
As an owner of a .is I want to add that if you get within 45 days of your domain name expiring without renewing, they send you paper mail by air from Iceland. I kept the fancy stationary envelope with the REYKJAVIK ÍSLANDSPÓSTUR prepaid mail stamp because how neat is that?
3 Name: Anonymous : 2013-11-29 20:54
As an owner of a .is I want to add that if you get within 45 days of your domain name expiring without renewing, they send you paper mail by air from Iceland.
That's...so cute. So if I ever have the cash to get a .is I'll actually use real address information instead of faking is, because it would be cool to get that in the mail.