As a domainer, I firmly believe that new gTLD operators would have a lot to gain by being as transparent as possible when it comes to the renewal fees and predictability is equally important in my opinion.
Let me explain why.
If you only register a domain or two, the renewal fees won’t be all that important. However, some domainers would be more aggressive in a good way (in other words, they’d buy more new gTLD inventory) if they’d know what to expect in terms of renewal fees.
No matter what you have to say about Verisign, their dot com contract is a reasonably good example of transparency and predictability. You know right off the bat what the “wholesale” price of a dot com is (in other words, the price registrars such as GoDaddy have to pay for each dot com) as well as whether or not it will be increased in the future and if so, how much of an increase you should expect.
I’m not saying it’s a perfect contract but from a transparency/predictability perspective, it’s not bad. You as a domainer will therefore know what to expect and will be able to organize your portfolio accordingly.
In my opinion, new gTLD operators should do the same thing.
It’s very important to me how much it would cost to renew my inventory because it all adds up. Let’s assume you own 100 new gTLD domains and intend to keep them for 5 years.
For a portfolio of 100 domains, the difference between a renewal fee of $5 and a renewal fee of $50 is basically the difference between paying $25/domain to keep it for 5 more years and paying $250/domain to do the same thing. In other words, the difference between paying $2,500 to keep your portfolio of 100 domains for 5 years and paying $25,000 to do the same thing. As you can see, the numbers speak for themselves.
How many domainers can afford the $2,500 price tag? Quite a few.
How many can afford the $25,000 price tag? A minority.
Now I’m not saying renewal fees are or should be the #1 argument you base your decision on, not at all. I’m simply trying to explain that in my opinion, new gTLD operators should take the renewal fee transparency and predictability aspect very seriously.