I've been working on getting a domain and I've come across the discovery that .com is cheaper than most other .examples (.world, .earth, but more expensive than .net or .org sometimes) I've seen.

Does anyone know why this is? If it's a service provider type thing or if there's something more behind it like it provides more server space or something?

Simple answer. Registrars can charge what they want.

Want more? Ok.

Becoming a registrar requires a HUGE investment in network bandwidth, equipment, backups, personnel, fees, company website creation, and so forth. Because of the requirements both from ICAAN and the public at large, any new registrar cannot be a small effort. Any new .TLD such as .gofishing (just making one up), will require recovery of expenses as quickly as possible to recover as much as possible the initial investment. Why? Businesses must become profitable quickly. For registrars, large investments become yearly expenses such as renewals with ICANN and any equipment and network upgrades along with expansion of personnel. If the initial recovery of expenses comes too slowly, then the second year expenses can tip the balance sheet for the business into a non-recoverable scenario.

This means that established registrars have an advantage. While new registrars must scramble to recover initial investments within the first one or two years and not stretch too far into years three and four, established registrars have the luxury of having already paid back their initial investments and having built an infrastructure that only needs to be maintained. This allows an established registrar to lower prices attracting more customers while remaining highly profitable.

Also consider the market. For example, for .com, there is higher market value for this space. Why? because .com sites have more value and most people would rather have a .com site at least for their primary site. For .TLDs such as .gofishing, the market would be much smaller. This means that the registrar with such a strong and vast market for .com sites, can offer them at a lower price due to volume and demand and .gofishing with limited demand will not find profitability as easily if at all.

The price of TLDs is based on competition, popularity and demand.

  • Competition: registrars like GoDaddy keep offering .com's at super low prices. With so many registrars to choose from the price will stay low.
  • Popularity & Demand: everyone wants to have a .com TLD because they believe it is better. They believe their visitors are used to websites being .com so for the sake of making it easier for their visitors and getting more traffic, they opt for what they believe is better overall.

Unlike most domain extensions, especially the newer ones such as .world and .earth that you mentioned, the cost of .COM is regulated. Verisign, the registry that sells .COM to domain registrars to then sell to customers, has a contract to sell .COM that limits the amount of increase in cost it can do.

Here is an article from the end of last year about the 2018 contract renewal for Verisign to sell .COM: http://domainnamewire.com/2015/12/02/verisign-bidzos-com-contract/

The other answer, of course, is that it's because .COM is the most popular domain extension and therefore the most competitive for registrars.

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