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WHOIS – A Year in Review

2014 marks the second year of progress towards fulfilling our commitment to improve WHOIS. ICANN achieved several key milestones in 2014, and is on track to deliver on the remaining commitments stemming from the WHOIS Review Team's recommendations.

Highlights include:

  • - a new microsite launched to provide a comprehensive information portal on how WHOIS works, and how to easily access the information, documents, and policies supporting it.

  • Consolidated WHOIS Lookup Tool - this new functionality enables users to input any gTLD domain name and find out the WHOIS contact information for the registrant behind it.

  • WHOIS Primer - a simple, easy to read summary of the complex contract requirements, technical specifications, and consensus policies that define the WHOIS program, available in six languages, so that anyone can understand how WHOIS works.

  • Accuracy Reporting System Pilot [PDF, 668 KB] - a new system for proactively examining the accuracy of WHOIS records and reporting on the results.

  • EWG Model to Replace WHOIS - a proposal [PDF, 5.11 MB ]to be considered by the GNSO for a replacement to the current WHOIS to better serve the needs of tomorrow's Internet.

To learn more about these and other improvements to the WHOIS Program, ICANN has published the second Annual Report on WHOIS Improvements [PDF, 1.11 MB], which details all of these activities, and lets you know what to expect in the coming months.


    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."