ICANN Staff took this decision following bilateral negotiations with the registry operators for .ORG, .INFO and .BIZ. Generally, changes in ICANN policy are made by the ICANN community rather than ICANN staff.
When defending ICANN’s renewal decision, the ICANN Board referred to a “Preliminary Analysis of Dennis Carlton Regarding Price Caps for New gTLD Internet Registries”, from March 2009. Written by a University of Chicago professor, Dennis Carlton. According to the ICANN Board, this report was a major part of ICANN’s decision to remove the price caps. It was a dated opinion piece from an economist commanding high consulting fees, was written in 2009, and reaches conclusions mainly based upon assumptions.
It is not a fact-based analysis and only a preliminary report.
The report only discusses price caps for new gTLD registries.
The author was not asked to analyze price caps for existing TLDs. The existence of price caps in existing gTLDs were an important factor in the author’s opinion of 2009, when he was of the opinion that no price caps should be imposed on new gTLDs.
Moreover, in his final reports of June 2009, the author made clear that he saw no basis for eliminating price caps in existing gTLDs. He had understood from ICANN that there is no basis for the concern that the absence of price caps for new gTLDs could result in the elimination of price caps for .COM, .NET, .ORG, .INFO, .BIZ, and others.
In 2013, the then already four years old report was clearly not an impediment to maintain the price cap when renewing the PIR registry agreement.
And the data for the domain name space dates from 2008, a time when there was a handful of gTLDs, [get percent of DUM total for gTLD then versus now] percent less domains, and did not factor in country specific TLDs.
According to a 2016 Propublica report, Professor Carlton charges at least $1,350 an hour. It is estimated that he has earned approximately $100 million for his consulting services. It is not known how much ICANN paid for his services, however based upon the Propublica report, his positions are very pro-business.