The body that manages the internet’s top-level domains has settled a legal dispute with VeriSign over its proposals to introduce new services and the prices it charges to users for .com and .net domains.
The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (Icann) has agreed to renew VeriSign’s domain distribution contract for .com and .net names in 2012.
Under the contract, $6 (£3.50) from each domain registered by VeriSign will go to Icann.
In the years up to 2012, Icann will also allow VeriSign to raise domain registration fees by a maximum of 7% in four out of the six future years.
VeriSign must also pay Icann $625,000 to cover the costs for managing the agreement.
VeriSign had sued Icann in 2004 after claiming Icann was preventing it from introducing new services such as domain registry waiting-lists.
However, the settlement has been criticised by internet watchdogs including the Coalition for Icann Transparency (CFIT).
It said giving VeriSign future control over the .com and .net domains without a competitive tender was wrong, and the agreed price increases for registering domains were unjustified.
The US government recently fought off United Nations demands that US-based Icann should be replaced by a body that could be seen to act in the interests of all countries, particularly poor and developing ones.
Although officially independent, the US government has controls in place to make sure Icann cannot fundamentally change the internet’s underlying infrastructure without US approval.