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The ICANN Ombudsman

The ICANN Ombudsman’s job is to make sure that ICANN community members are treated fairly. Acting as an impartial mediator, the Ombudsman helps resolve disputes on issues involving the ICANN Board, staff or supporting organizations. The Ombudsman is here to help you!

Ask the Ombudsman a Question

About Ombudsman

Profile image for Herb Waye

Herb is the ICANN Ombudsman and reports directly to the ICANN Board, but is not a member of ICANN Staff. He is available to the ICANN Community for complaints about delay and unfairness within and between ICANN and the supporting organizations. Herb has an extensive background in law enforcement and alternate dispute resolution. He has been with the Office of the Ombudsman since 2006. Learn More

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What the Ombudsman Can Do For You   

This is a page with practical directions as to how the Ombudsman can help you with your problem, and to help you decide if the Ombudsman can help you. The Ombudsman is given some specific powers to look at problems. There are some things that the Ombudsman cannot investigate, but sometimes the Ombudsman can facilitate some resolution, by discussion or mediation.

The ICANN Ombudsman is independent, impartial and neutral. The Ombudsman's function is to act as an informal dispute resolution office for the ICANN community, who may wish to lodge a complaint about ICANN staff, board or problems in supporting organizations. The purpose of the office is to ensure that the members of the ICANN community have been treated fairly. The Ombudsman is impartial and will attempt to resolve complaints about unfair treatment, using  techniques like mediation, shuttle diplomacy and if needed, formal investigation. The Ombudsman is not an advocate for you, but will investigate without taking sides in a dispute. The process is informal, and flexible.

Complaints to the ombudsman are completely confidential. The fact that you have made a complaint is never disclosed unless you expressly waive confidentiality. This is very important for those who are concerned about an imbalance of power and consequences if a complaint is made.

The ICANN Ombudsman has jurisdiction over complaints which arise from things which happen in the community

The Ombudsman cannot make, change or set aside a policy, administrative or Board decision, act, or omission, but may investigate these events, and to use ADR technique to resolve them and make recommendations as to changes.

The Ombudsman cannot investigate issues between a domain name registrar and a domain name holder, nor can the office help with website content or spam or malware. However the Ombudsman will try to find the best place to help with these issues and refer the visitor.

Examples of Ways the Ombudsman May Help

  • Problems with diversity issue
  • Delays within ICANN and the community
  • Problems with unfair procedure in ICANN and the community
  • Bullying
  • Finding documents within ICANN
  • Concerns about privacy
  • New gTLD applications and process

Learn more about the Office of the Ombudsman by viewing this flyer.

Expected Standards of Behavior

Learn the Updated Expected Standards of Behavior by reading through the infographic. Everyone who takes part in the ICANN multistakeholder process, including Board, staff, and those involved in Supporting Organization and Advisory Committee councils should review this document by clicking the link above.



Contact the Ombudsman at or or on the Complaint Page by completing the form at


Media with the Ombudsman

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Meet Herb Waye ICANN's New Ombudsman

ICANN's James Cole interviews ICANN's new Ombudsman, Herb Waye during ICANN57.


Meet Herb Waye, ICANN's New Ombudsman

ICANN's James Cole interviews ICANN's new Ombudsman, Herb Waye during ICANN57.


Chris LaHatte, ICANN Ombudsman | 2 Apr 2013

Chris LaHatte, ICANN Ombudsman | 2 Apr 2013

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."