Early reports are surfacing today that ICANN has concluded its investigation of the Panix.com domain name hijacking and placed the blame solely on registrar Melbourne IT, clearing Dotster of any wrong doing.
ICANN chief registrar liaison Tim Cole said “ICANN considers this to have been one of the more serious breaches of its policies by an accredited registrar. We are also very concerned by Melbourne IT’s explanation that the incident happened because Melbourne IT had purportedly ‘delegated’ to a reseller the critical responsibility for obtaining the consent of the registrant prior to submitting a transfer request to the registry.”
This brings up a huge issue with resellers. Not only has the number of registrars grown into the hundreds, resulting in rouge registrars smattered across the world, but some of these registrars have thousands of resellers. These resellers are sometimes delegated responsibilities, in this case confirming transfers, that they are not capable of. There are also rouge resellers that might be criminals. Some reseller programs even delegate renewals to resellers. For example, if they receive a renewal request the reseller must login to approve it. What happens if the reseller neglects to renew? Enom sent an email to its resellers (of which I am one) a couple months ago saying that some resellers were not renewing on behalf of their customers in time. This can result in a company losing its domain name.
ICANN needs to place more restrictions on reseller programs. Reseller programs aren’t inherently bad, but they need strong rules and regulations. These rules can’t be left up to the registrars to decide and enforce.