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Registrar Compliance Program

The following overview of the Registrar Compliance Program [PDF, 512 KB] serves as a guide only. Contracted parties must continue to review and comply with all requirements in their agreements with ICANN and the applicable ICANN policies.

The gTLD Registrar Compliance Program was developed by dividing the contractual provisions of Registrar Accreditation Agreement (RAA) into general Compliance Areas. Those areas are implemented through a combination of internal monitoring efforts, processing of complaints and monitoring of external resources, such as industry news. A new service or a change in policy may trigger additional compliance monitoring in that area.

The form of the RAA is identical regardless of the characteristics of the registrar. Listed below are some of the RAA Compliance Areas and the relevant provisions.

For additional information regarding registrars and the RAAs, please refer to this visit the Information for Registrars and Registrants page.

A list of some of the Registrar related compliance areas.

  1. Registration Data Directory Service (Whois)

    This is a broad area in which accredited registrars have several obligations, including:

    • Provision of free public Whois service on Port 43 and via web;
    • Submitting all required data elements to the registries;
    • Updating data in a timely manner;
    • Taking reasonable steps to investigate and correct inaccuracies upon notification;
    • Providing annual Whois data reminders to registrants.

    Relevant provisions include Sections 3.2, 3.3 and 3.7.8 of the 2009 RAA and 2013 RAA, and the Whois Accuracy Program Specification of the 2013 RAA.

    For additional information, please visit About Whois Complaints.

  2. Domain Name Transfer

    All ICANN-accredited registrars are required to allow registrants to transfer domain names to another registrar. If registrants encounter problems with transferring a domain name, then they can submit a complaint to ICANN for review and follow up as needed. Common areas relating to transfer complaints are at About Domain Name Transfer to a Different Registrar.

    Registrar obligations relating to transfers are specified in the Transfer Policy

  3. Domain Name Renewal

    The Expired Registration Recovery Policy (ERRP) and Expired Domain Deletion Policy (EDDP) provide requirements for ICANN-accredited registrars regarding domain name expiration, including notifying registrants about expiration. For additional information, please visit About Domain Renewal/Redemption.

  4. Data Escrow

    Registrars are required to submit an electronic copy of their database to an escrow agent according to an approved schedule and format. They must also enter into the appropriate agreement with ICANN and the escrow agent. ICANN works with the data escrow agents to ensure that registrars deposit data on the required schedule, in the required format, and that the data complies with the requirements of the RAA.

  5. UDRP

    The Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) is a method for resolving certain domain name disputes involving trademarks. Although UDRPs must be filed through independent dispute resolution providers, the RAA require registrars to comply with the UDRP. UDRP compliance areas include verifying registrant information, maintaining domain status quo, locking domain names, and timely implementing UDRP decisions. For more information, please visit About Domain Name Dispute/UDRP.

    As each of these areas has a variety of requirements binding on registrars, ICANN will use various means to test compliance including surveys, review of sample registrar materials, and data from third parties such as dispute resolution providers.

Compliance Monitoring

ICANN undertakes various activities to ensure compliance with contractual obligations; some of the activities are a result of complaints, some are monitoring and others are related to the Contractual Compliance Audit Program.

The monitoring activities are ICANN-initiated, based in part on industry articles, previous complaints, and trend analysis in an effort to proactively address any alleged failure to comply with contract terms.

Domain Name System
Internationalized Domain Name ,IDN,"IDNs are domain names that include characters used in the local representation of languages that are not written with the twenty-six letters of the basic Latin alphabet ""a-z"". An IDN can contain Latin letters with diacritical marks, as required by many European languages, or may consist of characters from non-Latin scripts such as Arabic or Chinese. Many languages also use other types of digits than the European ""0-9"". The basic Latin alphabet together with the European-Arabic digits are, for the purpose of domain names, termed ""ASCII characters"" (ASCII = American Standard Code for Information Interchange). These are also included in the broader range of ""Unicode characters"" that provides the basis for IDNs. The ""hostname rule"" requires that all domain names of the type under consideration here are stored in the DNS using only the ASCII characters listed above, with the one further addition of the hyphen ""-"". The Unicode form of an IDN therefore requires special encoding before it is entered into the DNS. The following terminology is used when distinguishing between these forms: A domain name consists of a series of ""labels"" (separated by ""dots""). The ASCII form of an IDN label is termed an ""A-label"". All operations defined in the DNS protocol use A-labels exclusively. The Unicode form, which a user expects to be displayed, is termed a ""U-label"". The difference may be illustrated with the Hindi word for ""test"" — परीका — appearing here as a U-label would (in the Devanagari script). A special form of ""ASCII compatible encoding"" (abbreviated ACE) is applied to this to produce the corresponding A-label: xn--11b5bs1di. A domain name that only includes ASCII letters, digits, and hyphens is termed an ""LDH label"". Although the definitions of A-labels and LDH-labels overlap, a name consisting exclusively of LDH labels, such as"""" is not an IDN."