Setting up an Offshore Domain Registrar: 5 Things to Keep in Mind

Judging from the inquiries we received over the last couple of weeks, apparently a number of people are looking at setting up an offshore domain registrar. So I figured it would be a good time to summarize 5 items to keep in mind when becoming ICANN accredited with an offshore company.

  1. Becoming accredited is just one step, you will also need a registrar solution (software or hosted service) to run your new domain name registrar.
  2. If you are looking at a hosted registrar solution, you will most likely only be hosting your registrar front-end on offshore servers. Make sure you know where your hosted registrar provider’s servers are located, as they may be subject to another jurisdiction.
  3. While your offshore jurisdiction may offer protection against legal “attacks”, the registry will be still located in another jurisdiction. While it is likely that the registry will fight anything that could set precedence and make them responsible for actions of registrants, it is still a possibility for a potential complainant to go directly to the registry.
  4. The commercial liability insurance that ICANN requires you to have is usually more expensive for an offshore entity than it is for a company located in the US or Canada.
  5. Do not buy an existing registrar, if the company is not already accredited in the right jurisdiction. Changing a jurisdiction for an existing registrar is complicated and takes time. In most cases it is easier to set up a new registrar.