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WHOIS Online Accuracy Reporting System: Request for Proposal

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers ("ICANN") is seeking one or more providers to assist ICANN in the development, operation, and maintenance of the WHOIS Online Accuracy Reporting System.

Every year, millions of individuals, businesses, organizations and governments register domain names. Each one must provide identifying and contact information which may include: name, address, email, phone number, and administrative and technical contacts. This information is often referred to as "WHOIS data."

ICANN's Affirmation of Commitments (AoC) requires ICANN to "implement measures to maintain timely, unrestricted and public access to accurate and complete WHOIS information…" To do that, registrars and registries provide public access to data on registered names. Anyone can use WHOIS to search the databases and identify the registered name holder or "registrant" of a generic domain name.

The WHOIS Online Accuracy Reporting System ("Accuracy Reporting System") is a project mandated by ICANN's Board of Directors that will:

  • Proactively identify potentially inaccurate gTLD WHOIS contact data through random sampling;
  • Forward potentially inaccurate records to gTLD registrars for investigation and follow-up;
  • Publicly report on the resulting actions; and
  • In future iterations, enable ICANN's Contractual Compliance Department to examine the potential accuracy of Whois data in the course of enforcement of Whois accuracy obligations of registrars and registries;

to encourage improved accuracy. More information on WHOIS is available here.

ICANN is seeking proposals through this RFP from vendors or service providers that can perform one or more of the functions for the Accuracy Reporting System. ICANN expects that it will likely contract with several vendors to perform the wide range of services called for in this RFP.

The goals of the Accuracy Reporting System are to:

  • Provide transparency into the accuracy of generic domain name WHOIS records
  • Derive data to inform changes to the WHOIS policy
  • Determine whether recent contractual changes (such as those relating to WHOIS validation and verification) and policy changes (such as the new consensus policy requiring "thick WHOIS") result in measurable increases in accuracy levels
  • Enhance ICANN's contractual compliance activities through access to automated tools to examine certain data elements included in WHOIS records.

The objective of this RFP is to identify one or more vendors to provide services, software or data to support ICANN's development of the Accuracy Reporting System, to provide the following functionality, as described in greater detail in the RFP:

  • WHOIS Parser – to standardize the format of WHOIS data records collected from gTLD registrars and registries;
  • Global Validation and Verification Services – to examine WHOIS contact data, including postal address, email, telephone and registrant identity;
  • Study Design and Delivery Services – to define the parameters of the statistical analysis to be deployed in the Accuracy Reporting System, and to perform the defined statistical analysis study and reporting services; and
  • Visual Communication Services – to create and design innovative visual communication solutions to display the complex statistical data output from these ongoing studies in a user-friendly manner.

For additional information and instructions for submitting responses please see [ZIP, 2.1 MB].

Activity Dates
RFP published 16 May 2014
Participants to provide intent to respond to RFP by emailing by 23:59 UTC on 21 May 2014
Participants submit any questions using Q&A Excel template by emailing by 22 May 2014
ICANN to respond to questions by 29 May 2014
Participant RFP proposals for Lots A, E, F and G due by emailing by 23:59 UTC on 6 June 2014
Participant RFP proposals for Lots B, C and D due by emailing by 23:59 UTC on 27 June 2014
Target for evaluation and vendor presentations Mid June
Target for contract finalization (includes contracting and award to participant) July
Target for Project Kick-off Meeting in ICANN's Los Angeles Offices July 15
Development of Accuracy Reporting System July-Aug
Data Gathering & Analysis Aug
Pilot Report Published Sept
Community Feedback on Pilot Report Oct
Modifications to Accuracy Reporting System Oct – Nov
Launch of Accuracy Reporting System December 15, 2014


Proposals should be submitted to <> by 23:59 UTC on 6 June 2014. Submissions must be provided using supplied templates, supplemented by additional information, as necessary.

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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."