ICANN wrestles with changes after Registerfly melt-down

There are major changes happening at the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the organization that oversees domain name registries, reports Ars Technica.At ICANN's 29th international public meeting workshop this week, participants responded to a fiasco by an Internet domain registry that held up customers' domain names.

There are major changes happening at the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the organization that oversees domain name registries, reports Ars Technica. At ICANN's 29th international public meeting workshop this week, participants responded to a fiasco by an Internet domain registry that held up customers' domain names. Participants discussed the possibility of putting top-level domains in escrow, amending the Registrar Accreditation Agreement (RAA), and developing better tools to enforce that agreement.

"In March, I said that there must be comprehensive review of our Registrar Accreditation Agreement and the accreditation process. The results of that review are driving this workshop," said ICANN CEO Paul Twomey in a statement.

The escrow idea was generated because of the Registerfly "situation." Registerfly had a series of intra-company disasters that led to over 75,000 of its customers' domain names expiring, with no one, including ICANN or Registerfly itself, able to get access to renew them. ICANN warned Registerfly that it could lose accreditation, but the company claimed it couldn't do much about the situation until ousted CEO Kevin Medina handed over useful information such as access to the company's billing department.

Registerfly finally relented and handed over the requested information, and Medina has since been reinstated as the CEO of Registerfly. The management of Registerfly's domains are now done by GoDaddy.com.

Since revoking a registrar's accreditation is a Draconian measure, ICANN is considering implementing a graduated enforcement tool.

"A graduated sanctions scheme based on the nature and seriousness of alleged breaches will give ICANN more tools to effectively enforce the agreements," the organization said in a statement.

ICANN regulates almost 900 domain registrars, and Twomey acknowledges that the current RAA is a bit outdated.

"We are going to keep this discussion going, get input from the wider community, and then we will make the changes needed to protect registrants and domain names," he said.

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