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ICANN is today announcing the implementation plan for the new Add Grace Period (AGP) Limits Policy adopted by the ICANN Board on 26 June 2008. A grace period is a specified number of calendar days following a gTLD registry operation in which the operation may be reversed and a credit may be issued to a Registrar. AGP is typically the five-day period following the initial registration of a domain name. Currently, when a domain name is registered through a registrar, that registrar may delete the domain name at any time during the first five calendar days of the registration (the AGP) and receive a full credit for the registration fee from the registry operator. AGP appears as a contractual term in some, but not all gTLD registry agreements.
Posted here is the AGP Limits Policy and the implementation plan. The plan specifies that gTLD Operators (hereinafter referred to as "Operators") must inform each of their accredited Registrars of the new Policy within the next 21 days and subsequently implement the Policy as soon as possible thereafter but no later than 31 March 2009.
The new AGP Limits Policy is based on a detailed recommendation made by the GNSO Council to the Board earlier this year and provides that Operators who offer an AGP to their customers will now be prohibited from making refunds to registrars for AGP deletes that exceed the threshold limits set by the Policy. The limits defined by the Policy are (i) 10% of that registrar's net new registrations (calculated as the total number of net adds of one-year through ten-year registrations as defined in the monthly reporting requirement of Operator Agreements) in that month, or (ii) fifty (50) domain names, whichever is greater, unless an exemption is requested by a Registrar and subsequently granted by an Operator. While Operators will initially have significant flexibility on how to treat such requests, ICANN Staff will monitor the process closely and modifications will be recommended if any additional patterns of abusive behavior are detected.
The implementation plan is the result of extensive public deliberations which were part of the GNSO Policy Development Process (PDP) on domain tasting, outreach to Operators and ICANN-accredited Registrars, and public comment on a draft implementation plan.
The plan includes significant changes to the reporting obligations of Operators. Operators will now be required to submit as part of their monthly reporting requirement information for each Registrar including, but not limited to, the number of exemption requests, number of exemptions granted, numbers of names affected by granted exemption requests and number of AGP deletes if this information is not currently defined in the Operator’s monthly reporting requirement. Additionally, the monitoring requirements in the plan require ICANN to publish status reports on the implementation effort which will include a review of all exemption requests and their disposition, names of registrars that have recurring requests for exemptions and the reasons for these exemptions as well as other information defined in the plan.
The recent announcement to the ICANN Community on 13 November 2008 reported that AGP deletes decreased by 84% from June to July 2008 as a result of the related AGP budget provision adopted by the Board for fiscal year 2009. The budget provision has the same thresholds as the AGP Limits Policy. The AGP Limits Policy will carry a much higher financial penalty (i.e., the domain name registration fee paid by Registrars to Operators) than the budget provision (i.e., the current registrar-level transaction fee of US$0.20) for excessive AGP deletes. It is expected that following implementation of the Policy, AGP deletes will continue to decline until few or none are subject to excess delete fees.