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New WHOIS ARS Report (Phase 2 Cycle 6) Now Available

15 June 2018

LOS ANGELES – 15 June 2018 – The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) published the WHOIS Accuracy Reporting System (ARS) Phase 2 Cycle 6 Report. The data analyzed in this report is from January 2018. This is a follow-up to previous ARS Reports which have been published semi-annually since December 2015.

Read the Report.

The report explores both the syntax and operability accuracy of WHOIS records in generic top-level domains (gTLDs) as compared to the requirements of the 2009 and 2013 Registrar Accreditation Agreements (RAAs). It also examines the leading types of nonconformances, trends, and comparisons of WHOIS accuracy across gTLD types, ICANN regions, and RAA versions. (Note: The data analyzed in this report was completed prior to the adoption of the Temporary Specification.)

The ICANN org developed accuracy tests to answer questions about the syntax (format and content) and operability (e.g., does an email sent to the email address provided in the WHOIS record go through?) of a sample of WHOIS records. Then, using statistical methods, syntax and operability accuracy estimates were provided for the population of domains in gTLDs as a whole, as well as for several subgroups of interest.

Key Findings (data as of January 2018)

The analysis found that:

  • Nearly all WHOIS records contained information that could be used to establish immediate contact: In 98 percent of records, at least one email or phone number met all operability requirements of the 2009 RAA.
  • Approximately 92 percent of email addresses, 60 percent of telephone numbers, and 99 percent of postal addresses were operable (see Table 1 below for more information).

Table 1: Overall gTLD Operability Accuracy by Contact Mode (95 percent confidence interval)

Email Telephone Postal Address All Three Accurate
All Three Contacts (Registrant, Technical, Administrative) Accurate 92.3% ± 0.5% 59.5% ± 0.9% 98.9% ± 0.2% 55.5% ± 0.9%
  • In terms of syntax accuracy, approximately 99 percent of email addresses, 92 percent of telephone numbers, and 88 percent of postal addresses were found to have met all the requirements of the 2009 RAA (see Table 2 below for more information).

Table 2: Overall gTLD Syntax Accuracy to 2009 RAA Requirements by Contact Mode (95 percent confidence interval)

Email Telephone Postal Address All Three Accurate
All Three Contacts (Registrant, Technical, Administrative) Accurate 99.7% ± 0.1% 92.1% ± 0.5% 88.3% ± 0.6% 82.2% ± 0.7%

The report also shows a breakdown of accuracy rates by ICANN region (see Figure 1 below for more information).

Figure 1: Overall gTLD Syntax and Operability Accuracy by ICANN Region

Figure 1: Overall gTLD Syntax and Operability Accuracy by ICANN Region

Next Steps

Results included in the report will be provided to ICANN's Contractual Compliance team, which will assess the types of errors found and follow up with registrars on potentially inaccurate records. If WHOIS inaccuracy and/or format complaints are created from the WHOIS ARS data, ICANN Contractual Compliance will issue tickets in accordance with the Contractual Compliance Approach and Process [PDF, 292 KB]. Compliance provides updates on a quarterly basis, which include updates on WHOIS ARS tickets and can be found here. In response to ICANN community requests, the ICANN org now publishes additional metrics on the WHOIS ARS Contractual Compliance Metrics page here.

The ICANN org will begin work on the next WHOIS ARS report in July 2018, with a targeted publication date of December 2018.

Learn more:

About ICANN

ICANN's mission is to help ensure a stable, secure, and unified global Internet. To reach another person on the Internet, you have to type an address into your computer – a name or a number – into your computer or other device. That address must be unique so computers know where to find each other. ICANN helps coordinate and support these unique identifiers across the world. ICANN was formed in 1998 as a not-for-profit public-benefit corporation with a community of participants from all over the world.