Syntax and Operability Accuracy of WHOIS Data in gTLDs Presented in Second Cycle of Phase 2 of the Accuracy Reporting System
ICANN today published the Phase 2 Cycle 2 report of the WHOIS Accuracy Reporting System (ARS), which acts as a follow-on to the Phase 2 Cycle 1 report [PDF, 1.7 MB] published in December 2015. During Cycle 2, ICANN again measured both the syntax and operability accuracy of WHOIS records in gTLDs as compared to the requirements of the 2009 and 2013 Registrar Accreditation Agreements (RAAs). The Cycle 2 report discusses the leading types of nonconformances, trends and comparisons of WHOIS accuracy across ICANN regions, RAA versions and gTLD types.
Read the Phase 2 Report [PDF, 2.6 MB].
ICANN 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 with a 95 percent confidence interval were provided for the population of domains in gTLDs as a whole, as well as for several subgroups of interest. The analysis found that 99% percent of records had at least one method of contact that met all syntax and operability requirements of the 2009 RAA, which implies that nearly all records contain information that can be used to establish contact.
In terms of operability accuracy, the Cycle 2 report shows that approximately 91 percent of email addresses, 76 percent of telephone numbers and 98 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)
|Telephone||Postal Address||All 3 Accurate|
|All 3 Contacts (Registrant, Technical, Administrative) Accurate||91.4% ± 0.5%||76.0% ± 0.8%||97.7% ± 0.3%||70.2% ± 0.8%|
In terms of syntax accuracy, the Cycle 2 report shows that approximately 99 percent of email addresses, 85 percent of telephone numbers and 77 percent of postal addresses were found to meet all the requirements of the 2009 RAA. Table 2 below provides more information.
Table 2: Overall gTLD Syntax Accuracy to 2009 RAA Requirements by Contact Mode (95 percent confidence interval)
|Telephone||Postal Address||All 3 Accurate|
|All 3 Contacts (Registrant, Technical, Administrative) Accurate||99.2% ± 0.2%||85.3% ± 0.6%||77.3% ± 0.7%||67.2% ± 0.8%|
Finally, the Cycle 2 report shows how the accuracy rates break down by ICANN region. Figure 1 below provides more information.
Figure 1: Overall gTLD Syntax and Operability Accuracy by ICANN Region
Next Steps for Cycle 2
ICANN will host a webinar on 16 June 2016 at 14:30 UTC to provide insight into the methodology and findings of the WHOIS ARS Cycle 2 report.
The results of Cycle 2 have been 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.
Next Steps for the WHOIS ARS
As Phase 2 is completed cyclically every six months, ICANN will begin work on Cycle 3 in July 2016. Testing is expected to be complete by October 2016 and a report on Phase 2 Cycle 3 is targeted for early December 2016. Cycle 4 will then begin in January 2017.
ICANN reviews the WHOIS Program every three years as part of its Affirmation of Commitments (AoC). On 8 November 2012, the ICANN board approved a series of improvements to the manner in which ICANN carries out its oversight of the WHOIS Program based on recommendations made by the 2012 WHOIS Review Team. As part of these improvements, ICANN committed to proactively identifying potentially inaccurate gTLD WHOIS contact data and forwarding these records to registrars for investigation and follow-up. To accomplish these tasks, ICANN initiated the development of the WHOIS Accuracy Reporting System. Throughout the development ICANN has consulted and collaborated with the community.
The ARS is intended to lead to improvements over time in the accuracy of WHOIS data, which will be examined in subsequent ARS reports.
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. That address has to 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 and a community with participants from all over the world. ICANN and its community help keep the Internet secure, stable and interoperable. It also promotes competition and develops policy for the top-level of the Internet's naming system and facilitates the use of other unique Internet identifiers. For more information please visit: www.icann.org