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Notice of Intent to Issue Advisory Regarding the Inter-Registrar Transfer Policy

ICANN has observed that there is confusion within the registrar community concerning the circumstances under which registrars may validly deny transfer requests pursuant to the Inter-Registrar Transfer Policy (“Transfer Policy”). The purpose of this Notice of Intent to Issue an Advisory regarding the Inter-Registrar Transfer Policy is to allow interested parties 30 days to comment on the proposed advisory. ICANN will consider all comments received at the close of the 30-day comment period. Interested parties have until 19 October 2007 to submit comments at Posted comments can be viewed at

The purpose of the proposed advisory is to assist ICANN-accredited registrars in understanding that under the Transfer Policy:

  1. Registrars are prohibited from denying a domain name transfer request based on non-payment of fees for pending or future registration periods during the Auto-Renew Grace Period; and
  2. A registrant change to Whois information is not a valid basis for denying a transfer request.

Developed through ICANN’s consensus policy process, the Transfer Policy was approved unanimously by ICANN’s Generic Names Supporting Organization (GNSO) and its Board of Directors. After consultation with several interested parties, the Transfer Policy was adopted in 2004. The Transfer Policy provides domain name holders with a standardized process for transferring their domain names from one ICANN-accredited registrar to another upon request. All ICANN-accredited registrars and unsponsored gTLD registry operators are required to comply with the Transfer Policy pursuant to their agreements with ICANN.

With over 900 ICANN-accredited registrars operating in the marketplace, offering a myriad of services, consumers have a diversity of options for the provision of registration services, from full service registration packages with web-hosting options, to bargain registration packages providing minimal customer service. However, this diversity of options cannot be fully appreciated by consumers if the provisions of the Transfer Policy are interpreted and applied inconsistently by registrars, thereby preventing consumers from freely transferring their domain names when they choose to do so.

The Transfer Policy allows domain name holders to transfer their domain names from one ICANN-accredited registrar to another, except under nine limited circumstances. Registrar transfer denials that are not based on the nine reasons enumerated in the Transfer Policy discourage competition, create confusion, encourage abuse and violate the Transfer policy. The purpose of the proposed advisory is to provide clarity and promote consistent handling of transfer requests.

The Transfer Policy has proven to be a valuable resource for consumers enabling them to exercise freedom of choice in the domain name registration marketplace. For the benefit of consumers, registrars, registries and other interested parties, ICANN issued today’s proposed advisory to clarify the limited circumstances under which the Transfer Policy allows registrars to deny transfer requests. Comments regarding the proposed advisory are encouraged.

ICANN is aware that the GNSO’s Transfers Working Group is currently studying several issues related to the Transfer Policy with the intention of recommending language modifications to the GNSO Council. However, the purpose of ICANN’s proposed advisory is to clarify existing policy.

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Domain Name System
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"""" is not an IDN."