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ICANN to double budget, raise fees

Travel costs, litigation and other expenses drive the decision, which is upsetting domain registrars that will face higher fees.

The nonprofit body that oversees Internet domain names and addresses anticipates a near-doubling of its budget for the next year, with spending leaping from $8.3 million to $15.8 million. In its proposed 2004-2005 budget released this week, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) said the huge increase was necessary because of international travel and "political, governmental and environmental factors such as litigation." That would include a lawsuit filed by VeriSign being heard in federal court in Los Angeles.

ICANN's spending plans drew mixed reviews from domain name registrars, which represent the bulk of the nonprofit's income and would face far higher fees next year. Registries for top-level domains such as .com, .net, and .info represent a smaller revenue source. "ICANN must focus on its core mission and cut its budget," CEO Peter Forman said. "Registrars can not continue to support over 80 percent of the budget." But GoDaddy CEO Bob Parsons said ICANN needs the money and it could be used for more enforcement: "We're strongly in favor of the budget."