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My company owns a thousand DNS names (possibly more). I'm curious if it makes sense to become a registrar, and what costs would be involved in becoming one?

Are there any benefits that would make this more attractive than, say, becoming a reseller of an existing registrar (and selling to ourselves)?

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    What TLD(s) are they in? – MadHatter May 16 '15 at 15:10
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    I don't have a direct answer to your question but one thing that is really worth noting is that you will have to deal with each registry separately. I think it speaks volumes how some big players like Amazon (AWS) choose to go the reseller route. – Håkan Lindqvist May 16 '15 at 15:10
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ICANN Registrar Accreditation: Financial Considerations

Before you undertake the registrar accreditation process, please read and consider the following costs to you. This is not an exhaustive list of all costs involved in becoming an accredited registrar, but is meant only as a helpful listing of some of the costs registrar applicants should be prepared to pay in connection with becoming an ICANN-accredited registrar. What you will pay to ICANN:

  • US$3,500 non-refundable application fee, to be submitted with application.
  • US$4,000 yearly accreditation fee due upon approval and each year thereafter.
  • Variable fee (quarterly) billed once you begin registering domain names or, the first full quarter following your accreditation approval, whichever occurs first. This fee represents a portion of ICANN's operating costs and, because it is divided among all registrars, the amount varies from quarter to quarter.
  • Transaction-based gTLD fee (quarterly). This fee is a flat fee charged for each new registration, renewal or transfer. This fee can be billed by the registrar separately on its invoice to the registrant, but is paid by the registrar to ICANN.
  • Please refer to http://www.icann.org/general/financial.html for the most recent ICANN budget to find additional details about the quarterly variable and transaction-based fees, including possible options for relief.
  • Please refer to http://www.icann.org/financials/payments.htm for instructions on how to submit payments to ICANN.

Other financial considerations:

This is just a part of the whole page.

The yearly accreditation fee alone is worth 4 dollars per domain you own. And how much do you actually pay per domain at a reseller?

I don't think it's worth it! You need multiple DNS server, electric power, trained tech staff, trained accountants, etc. You can do the math yourself. This is just to give you a first impression. Just check out the ICANN web pages and you find all the information you need.

What you should actually do is considering getting yourself a business resellers account at GoDaddy or wherever. You will have all the tools for mass management and cheaper prices than the average end users.

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    I'll just note that the costs listed here are specific to becoming an ICANN-accredited registrar. You will need additional agreements with the specific registry for each gTLD. As for ccTLDs, they will have their own policies (ICANN accreditation may not be relevant but generally there will be similar requirements). My point being that the fees, deposits, agreements, etc do not end with an ICANN accreditation. – Håkan Lindqvist May 17 '15 at 10:04
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I'm going to brutally honest here (which is what I hope you're after), so don't take this personally.

  1. There's no such thing as a DNS Registrar. There are Domain Name Registrars, but they are not called DNS Registrars. If you aren't even using the correct terminology then I'm not sure you (or anyone else in your company) has the requisite technical skill or understanding to become a Domain Name Registrar, so I would suggest that you put this notion away.

  2. It's unclear to me why you think being a large consumer of domain names would neccessitate the need to become a Domain Name Registrar. Where do you see the logical link there? I'm a large consumer of chocolate but I'm not thinking of becoming a chocolate bar manufacturer or distributor. There's no logical connection between being a consumer of a product and being a provider of the product that you're consuming.

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    I appreciate direct honesty, but I added the "s" to DN not thinking about the meaning of what I was typing. Re #2 - if I realize that buying Hershey chocolate is full of unneeded packaging, delays, reducing freshness/quality... or if the volume I consume is so high that I don't want to pay Hershey to make it for me, I might be able to save money once a certain threshold spend is hit. In terms of economics, there must be a point in which a purchase of X domains in a TLD from a registrar will cost less then when going direct. Otherwise registrars and Hershey's haveno reason to be in business. – goodguys_activate May 16 '15 at 15:55
  • Re #2, why not? Insourcing and vertical integration are things. In this case it's probably a bad idea, but that doesn't make it a bad question. – Matt Nordhoff May 17 '15 at 0:57
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    I didn't say it was a bad question. – joeqwerty May 17 '15 at 1:05

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