Verisign announced their response to COVID-19 (coronavirus) Wednesday with the two main initiatives for those outside the organisation being a freezing of the registry fee for all their top-level domains, including .com and .net, as well as a $2 million donation to assist organisations respond to the crisis.
The freezing of the registry fee through to the end of 2020 applies
to .com, .net, .tv, .cc, .name and the four internationalised domain name new
generic top-level domains (IDN new gTLDs) that have entered General
Availability. It is being pushed by Verisign as a means to support individuals
and small businesses affected by this crisis, although what difference a few
dollars makes is questionable. But. Every bit helps.
In addition, Verisign announced they will soon deploy a
programme, available to all retail registrars, to provide support and
assistance for domain name registrants whose domain names will be expiring in
the coming months. Verisign does not have direct relationships with domain name
registrants, but we are confident that this program can be delivered through
Verisign’s registrar partners to support registrants who are affected by the
As most of Verisign’s employees are located in the Reston,
Virginia, USA, area, Verisign have announced their $2 million donation to first
responders and medical personnel in the Northern Virginia area, the United
Way’s COVID-19 relief efforts, and the Semper Fi and America’s Fund. In
addition, effective immediately, Verisign is doubling the company’s funding to
its matching programme for employee giving, so more employee donations to
support COVID-19 response will be matched by Verisign.
In addition, Verisign have polished up their response to a
crisis. In their announcement on the Verisign blog, the company said while the issues
posed by COVID-19 are unprecedented, they fall within their standard
preparation for disruption caused by local, regional and global events. Verisign’s
readiness plans, which are routinely exercised, include the ability to maintain
critical internet infrastructure with most employees working remotely. Verisign
maintains multiple redundant operations centres, as well as hundreds of service
locations distributed worldwide across six continents. Verisign’s diverse
domain name system (DNS) infrastructure is not dependent on a single type of
technology, vendor, or power source at a given location, and Verisign technical
teams across the globe are able to perform key functions from multiple
locations. Verisign note they are prepared to continue to operate all their
services, including registry services for .com and .net and root operations at
the rigorous standards of performance governed by ICANN, even in the demanding
environment created by COVID-19.
And like many companies, Verisign has implemented actions to
protect their employees with a number of changes, including restricting travel
in February, quarantine and isolation when warranted, modifying their sick
leave policy and directing the vast majority of employees to work from home
starting on 11 March.
New cleaning and health safety protocols to protect employees
who must remain on site supporting key infrastructure operations functions have
also been introduced. At the time of the blog’s publication, no COVID-19 cases had
been reported within Verisign’s global workforce.
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