A big website is going to go dark thanks to ICANN’s new Whois verification
New verification requirement is bound to ensnare some notable websites.
ICANN’s 2013 Registrar Accreditation Agreement is slowly going into effect at major domain name registrars.
The biggest change that people who register domain names will notice is whois verification.
Starting January 1, when you register a domain name, you will have to verify your contact details with the registrar. Most registrars will send a verification email to you with simple verification instructions.
The domain name registration will be suspended if you fail to respond with 15 days. Practically speaking, this means your domain name registrar is likely to change the nameservers on your domain name to point it to a warning page, similar to what happens when a domain expires.
If a newly registered domain name is suspended, it’s no big deal. It’s unlikely to receive much traffic yet, anyway.
But the new RAA also requires verification if you change the name or email address of the registrant. That’s where things get tricky.
After reading the relevant sections of the RAA and speaking to a few knowledgeable people in the industry, it sounds like how the update verification and suspension will be handled is open to some interpretation.
eNom sent a notice to its resellers today informing them of how it will handle changes to the registrant. If the first or last name or email address changes, eNom will send a verification email. If the domain owner fails to click a link in the email within 15 days, the domain will be suspended and the nameservers changed.
It’s not hard to see where this is headed.
At some point in the not-to-distant future, a fairly big website is going to go down due to lack of Whois verification. A company will make a small change to the contact information but fail to verify it. Perhaps the verification email gets flagged as spam. Or an IT admin thinks its a phishing scheme. Or an intellectual property manager at a big company makes the change, then goes on vacation before receiving the verification email.
It’s bound to happen, and a lot of people are going to scream and point fingers when it does.