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Relief for Registrants in Response to COVID-19

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 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

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.


    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."