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Over 800,000 domain names suspended due to 2013 RAA

Verification requirement ensnares hundreds of thousands of domain names.

One of the requirements for domain name registrars under the 2013 Registrar Accreditation Agreement is that they must verify the contact details of registrants.

Most registrars are fulfilling this requirement by sending an email to registrants asking them to click a link to confirm. Registrars must suspend domain names if owners don’t verify their information.

We’ve had one-off examples of domain names being suspended due to this requirement. Now we have hard numbers: at least 800,000 domains have been suspended since January 1.

Speaking at the Registrar Stakeholders Group meeting with ICANN’s Board in London today, Tucows CEO Elliot Noss said that number was collected from domain registrars that have about 75% of all registrations. He suspects the suspension ratio will be higher for registrars not included in the total because more of them are in parts of the world where it’s harder to verify.

Noss drew a parallel between the verification requirement (which only hurts good actors and doesn’t harm bad actors) and efforts underway to change whois. He asked ICANN’s board what problem it is trying to solve with the whois change.

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  1. mansour says

    Domain Suspension due to ICANN Whois verification is the biggest nightmare that has hit registrars and owners of domain names in the past 15 years. What’s happening here is when the registrar sends an email to an owner to verify his contact information, and for one reason or another the email address is invalid or outdated and the email bounces back to the registrar as unverified, fifteen days later the domain name is put on client hold, and the owner’s website, email and other services no longer work. Ninety percent of the registrants do not know why this has happened. They check first with the hosting company, and try on their own to fix the problem, and since their email address is not correct, they do not received the Verification email. The website and email sometimes go dark for a week or more before they figure out these new rules.

    Most registrars do not have many means to inform the customer about what is going on. The first course of action by the customer is to transfer his domain name to another registrar thinking that the registrar cannot be trusted with his domain name. There is no easy fix for that. If you own 100 domain names and you want to correct the email address to a valid email address, you will spend hours to change the email address for the Admin, Owner, Billing and Technical contacts. If ICANN allows domains to have privacy with a fake email address and contact information, why are they so particular about having the contact information correct for the owner? And who does this really serve – Spammers, Advertisers? I am not sure who are the winners or losers here.
    Domain Suspension due to ICANN Whois verification is the biggest nightmare that has hit registrars and owners of domain names in the past 15 years. What’s happening here is when the registrar sends an email to an owner to verify his contact information, and for one reason or another the email address is invalid or outdated and the email bounces back to the registrar as unverified, fifteen days later the domain name is put on client hold, and the owner’s website, email and other services no longer work. Ninety percent of the registrants do not know why this has happened. They check first with the hosting company, and try on their own to fix the problem, and since their email address is not correct, they do not received the Verification email. The website and email sometimes go dark for a week or more before they figure out these new rules.

    Most registrars do not have many means to inform the customer about what is going on. The first course of action by the customer is to transfer his domain name to another registrar thinking that the registrar cannot be trusted with his domain name. There is no easy fix for that. If you own 100 domain names and you want to correct the email address to a valid email address, you will spend hours to change the email address for the Admin, Owner, Billing and Technical contacts. If ICANN allows domains to have privacy with a fake email address and contact information, why are they so particular about having the contact information correct for the owner? And who does this really serve – Spammers, Advertisers? I am not sure who are the winners or losers here.

    • Crypto da Mr Bitcoin says

      I had the same nightmare because Godaddy has not put enough effort into verification. I, for one, decided to double check with all my registers and contacted their support! I guess the best move is not to wait for them but rather just do it yourself.

  2. Internet Marketing says

    We just went through the nightmare process of retrieving a domain name that was suspended because the registrant had passed away (and therefore did not confirm contact details). The business owner needed to get a death certificate and documentation from the next to kin, just to get the domain name and emails functioning again (and the domain name wasn’t even expired yet).

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