Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers

ICANN Domain Name Transfer Policy Becomes Effective

12 November 2004

Marina del Rey (November 12, 2004) – The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) announced that its new inter-registrar domain name transfer policy has gone into effect.

The new policy was created through ICANN's consensus-based, bottom-up policy development process and approved unanimously by both ICANN's Generic Names Supporting Organisation (GNSO) and its Board of Directors.

Similar to how telephone number portability works in many countries, enhanced domain name portability will provide for greater consumer and business choice, enabling domain name registrants to select the registrar that offers the best services and price. The new policy also simplifies and standardises the process to prevent abuses and provide clearer user information about the transfer process and options. The policy was originally announced on July 12, 2004.

Central to the new policy and its efforts to provide strong protections against unauthorised transfers and to facilitate choice in domain name registration, all registrars are now required to use a clear standardised form of authorisation that provides for the express consent of the domain name registrant prior to the initiation of any transfer.

Additional policy elements include the following (please refer to the full policy available at http://www.icann.org/transfers/ for details):

  • Requiring registrars to verify the identity of the registrant or administrative contact requesting the transfer by one of a number of approved methods to deter fraud;
  • Preserving the ability of registrants to "lock" their domains so they may not be transferred from the registrar, but requiring registrars to provide a readily accessible way for registrants to have their current registrar remove this lock at their request;
  • Enabling registrants to transfer their domain names without having to "double-confirm" the transfer once the transfer has been reliably authenticated per the new policy; and
  • Providing a robust dispute resolution process for resolving disputes between registrars, including registries implementing a "transfer undo" functionality to provide for efficiently reversing any transfer initiated in violation of the policy.

Through the new transfer policy implemented today, ICANN expects to expand the domain name user benefits of increased generic top level domain (gTLD) name market competition, including the separation of the registry and registrar functions, that have decreased domain name costs for consumers and businesses by up to 80 percent.

A recent report by the OECD concluded that 'ICANN's reform of the market structure for the registration of generic top level domain names has been very successful. The division between registry and registrar functions has created a competitive market that has lowered prices and encouraged innovation. The initial experience with competition at the registry level, in association with a successful process to introduce new gTLDs, has also shown positive results.'

Domain name users also have benefited from ICANN's implementation of a Redemption Grace Period Service that provides a 30-day period for domain name holders to reclaim their names if deleted unintentionally from a registry database. Through ICANN's Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP), established in 1999, more than 10,000 domain name disputes also have been efficiently and cost effectively resolved.

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