If you buy or sell domain names, you’ve probably heard about the upcoming launch of new TLDs. By the middle of next year, we will likely be awash in new extensions ranging from .abudhabi to .webcam. It will be the biggest, most exciting change to the Internet in over a decade.
At Tucows HQ, we are working hard to make sure you’re able to take advantage of the numerous opportunities that new TLDs will bring. But we also want to make sure you’re aware of the important changes that will accompany new TLDs on a policy level.
In June, ICANN’s Board of Directors approved the 2013 Registrar Accreditation Agreement (RAA). The RAA is the formal contract between ICANN and registrars, and sets out the obligations of both parties. The approval of the 2013 RAA concluded several years of discussion and negotiation, much of which focused on the concerns of law enforcement agencies and governments.
The 2013 sets out a number of new regulations and procedures that are important to take note of, as they will have a (hopefully small) impact on your business:
- The email address of a registrant will need to be validated upon the purchase, transfer or modification of a domain name (unless that email address has already been validated). Should any of these three things occur, registrars are required to send an email or SMS requiring an affirmative response. Failing to receive a response within 15 days requires the registrar to either manually contact the registrant, or suspend the name. At OpenSRS, we will be sending an email (which, like our other products, will have white label capabilities). We’ll have more details shortly, but the important thing to note here is this applies to both new and existing domain names.
- The same validation process will also need to take place if a WHOIS Data Reminder Policy (WDRP) email bounces. It will therefore be of paramount importance to ensure the WHOIS data your customer provides is correct.
- Related to the point above, registrars will need to ensure the proper formatting and data for each address supplied within a contact. Registrars will need to validate, for example, that a street exists in a city, that the city exists in a state/province, and that the city specified matches the proper postal/zip code. This work and validation will take place on the registrar end. However, it will likely result in stricter validation rules on a platform level.
As you hopefully know, we believe in a free and open Internet, and feel current laws can resolve most issues without legislating the Internet. We voiced our disagreement with these provisions, as we do not feel the benefits will outweigh the effort and business impact, but the RAA was nonetheless ratified. We have since turned our attention to making sure we minimize the impact to your business.
We will keep you updated as we continue to develop the systems and features required to accommodate these new rules.