ICANN: Let’s Learn from RegisterFly

ICANN is reviewing policies in the wake of the RegisterFly fiasco.

Many in the domain name community are blaming ICANN for not taking action sooner against disgraced (and disaccredited) domain registrar RegisterFly. The company imploded earlier this year, placing valuable domain names in limbo. ICANN intervened after it was too late, say critics.

An article from the Associated Press says policy reviews are on the agenda. There about 860 registrars now and growing. (The number of active domain registrars is lower. Google, for example, is a domain registrar but does not register domains on behalf of customers.) ICANN is reviewing a number of policies, including:

1. Whether registrars should have to exhibit certain skills/competencies
2. If ICANN should approve registrar ownership changes
3. If ICANN can create enforcement tools short of removing accreditation

The latter item is key and something ICANN officials have lamented about in the past (including publicly at last year’s Domain Roundtable conference). ICANN’s hands are tied as it can’t fine, suspend, or otherwise punish registrars for infractions that may not warrant removal of accreditation.

A number of domain name owners, including investor Frank Schilling, recommend that all large portfolio owners have some sort of stake in their registrars. Domain company Logic Boxes offers a domain accreditation consulting service to help domain owners become accredited registrars. The company advertises that domain owners with more than 4,000 domain names should consider becoming a registrar.


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