Program will test registrars, registrants for accurate whois records.
The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) just published a report about the accuracy of domain name whois records and announced new initiatives to improve accuracy going forward.
Whois accuracy is a major problem and handling by registrars is inconsistent. On one extreme, registrar GoDaddy canceled the registration of FamilyAlbum.com because of inaccurate whois information. On the other extreme are registrars that don’t respond to reports of invalid whois information. In the middle are registrars who suspend the use of domains for inaccurate information.
Currently, domain name registrants must include accurate contact information in the public whois database. This includes name, address, phone number, and email address. Whois requirements might change going forward.
ICANN’s report shows that Internic’s Whois Data Problem Report System (WDPRS) received 50,189 reports of inaccurate whois data in the 12 month period ending February 28, 2007. Many of these reports were duplicates and one entity submitted nearly 40% of the reports. These numbers don’t include reports that were sent directly to a registrar and not through WDPRS. .Info domains have the most inaccuracies as a percentage of total registrations for any major TLD, followed by .net and .com. .Info domains have long been abused by spammers seeking to hide their true identities, as registration for .info domains are typically cheaper than other TLDs.
To help address the problem, ICANN is launching a new accuracy audit this year:
-ICANN will sample domain names from each accredited registrar.
-Domains with inaccurate whois data will be reported through WDPRS. ICANN will use an alias so that registrars are not aware that these domain inquires are being tracked by ICANN.
-ICANN will verify accuracy 45 days after submitting the domain through WDPRS.
Registrars that do not respond to the WDPRS inquiries will receive warnings from ICANN.