ICANN’s New Domain WHOIS Verification – The Policy and Procedures
The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (“ ICANN”), is an international non-profit corporation that plays one important role in the internet governance ecosystem, from the Internet Protocol (IP) address space allocation, protocol identifier assignment, generic (gTLD) and country code (ccTLD) Top-Level Domain name system management, to root server system management functions.
The New Domain WHOIS Verification
In the move to ensure that the Registrant contact information (which is often referred as WHOIS record) for generic TLDs (gTLDs) are correct and valid, the new ICANN’s regulation (that came into force on January 1, 2014) has mandated that the registrar must conduct WHOIS verification in the following situations:
- New registrations;
- Amendments in contact information on existing domains;
- The information provided appeared invalid or incomplete.
What is WHOIS Verification?
WHOIS verification, as the name suggests, is the WHOIS information verification process that involves one simple step – registrant will receive one email asking he or she to verify the accuracy of his or her contact information by clicking a validation link. The tricky part of this verification email is that it appears to be like one of the phishing emails sent by scammers and people might ignore such emails. An oversight of the validation email will lead to domain suspension due to pending verification (the reactivation will take as long as 48 hours upon successful verification).
What does the new validation cover?
Under ICANN’s new registrar agreement, all existing generic top-level domains (for example .com, .net, .biz etc.) as well as the new specialty top-level domains (like .consulting, .club, .berlin, .blog, and .marketing) will need to go through the email validation. However, top-level domains like .ca, .de and .co.uk (which are not under the authority of ICANN) are exempted from such validation.
What does the email validation procedure look like?
- The domain owner or registrant will receive one email requesting verification.
- The sender email will be something looks like this: email@example.com. with the subject lines: “IMMEDIATE VERIFICATION required for [your domain name]”.
- There is a validation link in the email, which is yet to be confirmed by registrant.
- He or she will be redirected to a landing page confirmed successful verification after he or she clicks the validation link.
- Pending email verification will lead to “unverified” status of his or her domain (if it is not done within 14 days from the day the email was sent out).
What are the consequences of failed email verification?
If the verification email goes unnoticed, the domain owners will need to stomach the risk of domain suspension. For one, their website will shut down. For another, they will face the risk of scrapping of suspended domain names from the existing DNS. Imagine the website as the physical store of your business – what could possibly happen to your business if your website comes to a halt?