We have received several inquiries from our contracted parties about steps that ICANN org could take to help mitigate issues in the domain name industry ecosystem in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. These include concerns about the ability of registrants to renew their domain names in a timely manner given current circumstances.
To ease this burden, ICANN org will be invoking section 18.104.22.168 of the 2013 Registrar Accreditation Agreement for the second time. This clause permits registrars to temporarily forebear from cancelling domain name registrations that were unable to be renewed as a result of a natural disaster.
The COVID-19 pandemic once again highlights the potential need for a policy initiative to protect registrants when they are unable to renew their domains as a result of natural disasters or other extraordinary circumstances. In the interim, we encourage contracted parties to take these circumstances into consideration when reviewing renewal delinquencies.
Contracted parties have also reached out with questions related to our ongoing business operations during this pandemic, including the availability of staff and key services. While most of ICANN org's staff is now working remotely, I can assure you that we are working hard to ensure operations carry on as normally as possible. We remain committed to delivering outstanding support to our contracted parties, vendors, and others in the domain name industry ecosystem in a timely manner.
In addition, we heard from many of our service providers and vendors, who have outlined their respective strategies for responding to COVID-19. I am confident that our contracted parties are also taking steps to mitigate potential risks and continue providing service.
If you have questions, I encourage you to reach out through standard channels, including via the Naming Services portal for contracted parties, or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
ICANN org will continue to evaluate additional methods of supporting registrants, contracted parties, and the community. Please take the necessary steps to stay safe, and help slow the spread of this global pandemic.