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Advisory | Inter-Registrar Transfers: Implementation Requirements | ICANN announces implementation of new policy rules for transfer of domain names between registrars

July 12, 2004: ICANN is pleased to announce the adoption of The Inter-Registrar Transfer Policy. The new transfer policy will provide for a smooth transition of a domain name from one registrar to another when such a change is requested by the domain name holder. As a result this new policy will:

  • Provide benefit to registrants in that they can more freely move their domain name from one registrar to another if they so desire, and further
  • Encourage competition in the DNS among registrars.

Guidelines for using the new policy can be found here.

The policy will be in effect starting 12 November 2004. Transfers initiated on or after this date will be covered by the new policy.

The policy was crafted as a consensus policy and has been drafted in accordance with the GNSO Transfer Task Force’s 29 policy recommendations approved by the ICANN Board. The full text of the GNSO Transfer Task Force Report is available at http://www.icann.org/gnso/transfers-tf/report-12feb03.htm. The Task Force has completed 3 supplementary documents (Exhibits A, B, C) in support of their recommendations. These exhibits are submitted as guidance to those that will be required to craft and/or implement the policies adopted as a result of these recommendations.

The policy applies to unsponsored gTLD Registries and replaces and supersedes the Policy on Transfer of Sponsorship of Registrations between Registrars, which is currently included as an exhibit to the Registry-Registrar Agreement(s). The policy is also incorporated into the Registrar Accreditation Agreement that ICANN has with each accredited registrar.

The ICANN staff wishes to thank the many individuals in the ICANN community who have dedicated their time and effort to helping work out the details of this policy and enabling it to move forward.

Implementation Notes

Notes on Implementation: Registrars

Inter-Registrar domain name transfer processes must be clear and concise in order to avoid confusing registrants or other stakeholders. Registrars should make reasonable efforts to inform registrants of and provide access to, the published documentation of the specific transfer process(es) employed by the registrar.

Registrars should provide and maintain a unique and private email address for use only by other registrars and the registry. This email is for transfer issues only. The address should be managed to ensure messages are received by someone who can respond to the transfer issue. A response to all messages received at this address is required within a commercially reasonable timeframe, not to exceed seven (7) calendar days.

The policy includes a mechanism for resolving disputes between registrars involving alleged violations of the policy. Only those violations occurring on or after 12 November, 2004 may be submitted to a dispute resolution provider in accordance with the Transfer Dispute Resolution Policy.

Notes on Implementation: unsponsored gTLD Registries

In connection with the Transfer Dispute Resolution Policy, gTLD registries must develop and implement a “Transfer Undo” function. This functionality will be used by the registry to reverse erroneous or noncompliant transfers.

The gTLD Registry Constituency has developed a detailed description of the mechanisms of the Transfer Undo functionality. The description has been agreed upon between the gTLD Registry Constituency members and the Registrar Constituency members and can be found here.

In order to assist with the required policy evaluation, registries will be required to provide certain statistics to ICANN regarding transfer requests and disputes. Specifications for such reports will be provided prior to the policy implementation date.

Notes on Implementation: Policy Evaluation

The implementation and execution of these recommendations will be monitored by the GNSO Names Council. ICANN staff will gather statistics, analyze, and report to the Names Council at three, six, and twelve month intervals after implementation to determine:

  1. How effectively and to what extent the policies have been implemented by Registrars, Registries, and Registrants.
  2. Whether or not modifications to these policies should be considered by the GNSO as a result of the experiences gained during the implementation and monitoring stages.
  3. The effectiveness of the dispute resolution processes and a summary of the filings that have been resolved through the process.

Pursuant to this report, the Names Council may instruct the staff to:

  1. Continue bi-annual reviews in a manner consistent with the aforementioned requirements, or
  2. Report again to the Names Council in an additional twelve month time frame

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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""icann.org"" is not an IDN."