ICANN Requirements for Expired Domain Names

During a recent webinar, ICANN went through the new Expired Registration Recovery Policy (“ERRP”) for registrars – here’s the summary and what you need to know. Please make sure that you read the original Expired Registration Recovery Consensus Policy if you need any more details. Registrars have to comply with the new policy by August 31st, 2013. This policy was developed from the Generic Name Supporting Organization (GNSO)’s Post Expiration Domain Name Recovery (PEDNR) recommendations. ICANN’s Board of Directors adopted the policy and ran it through a public comment period.

Expired Registration Recovery Policy (“ERRP”)

  • Registrars can delete domain names any time after they expire
  • The existing DNS has to be “disrupted” for 8 days before deletion, meaning the domain name has to either be put on “Registrar Hold” effectively removing it from the zonefile or changing DNS to point to a registrar supplied site. If a page is displayed, it must include instructions for renewing the domain name.
  • The registrant must be able to renew the domain name any time before deletion.
  • If the domain is renewed the registrar must restore DNS “as soon as commercially possible”.
  • The registry automatically renews the domain one the day of expiry and charges the registrar’s prepaid account
  • If the domain transfers out or is deleted within 45 days of the expiry/autorenewal, the prepaid funds will be returned to the registar’s account
  • After the domain name is deleted (unless a delete happens within the first 5 days after registration), the domain (for all gTLDs other than sponsored gTLDs) will enter the “Redemption Grace Period” (RGP), which lasts 30 days. During this time the domain may still be restored by the registrar at a higher cost. This must be offered by registrars.
  • The domain name will then go into “Pending Delete” status and will be deleted after five days
  • Any fees for renewals, post expiration renewals and redemptions must be displayed/be available to the registrant at the time of registration, for example as part of the registration agreement.
  • The registrar’s published renewal policy also must reveal how renewal reminders will be sent.
  • ICANN will publish information on this process on their website, registrars will have to link to it.
  • Resellers will have to display all of this information as well.

Messaging Requirements

  • Notify registered domain holder of the expiry of their names at least two times
  • The notices may be combined for domains expiring at the same time.
  • Approximately one month and one week before expiration.
  • Sent in language of the registration agreement
  • Must be sent to the “Registrant at Expiration” (RAE), meaning the holder of the name at expiration.
  • If the name is not renewed until five days after expiry, another “Final Renewal Reminder” must be sent explaining how to renew the domain
  • Registrars that send more or other notices may continue to do so
  • No prescribed template
  • Registrants cannot opt out of notices.
  • All messages sent to the registered name holder must be available for audit.

Why Registrars, Resellers&Domain Portfolio Managers should care about BTAPPA

The world of ICANN and the registries is full of cryptic acronyms – which luckily enough for us creates lots of space for consulting opportunities 😉 Now here is the latest one, BTAPPA, a new registry service by Verisign that was approved by the ICANN board on December 9th, 2009 and the necessary amendment was just signed two weeks ago. The original proposal was sent to ICANN in July 2009.

If you are a Registrar, Reseller or Domain Portfolio Manager, here’s why you should care about BTAPPA

Bulk Transfer after Partial Portfolio Acquisition” for the .COM, .NET and .NAME TLDs is a new service that allows the backend transfer (on the registry level) of a group of domains from one registrar to another. When you transfer a single domain from registrar to registrar, the transfer automatically goes hand in hand with a one year renewal of the name, which happens at the time of transfer completion. In order to allow one registrar to purchase another, the registry has for offered a bulk transfer service that transfers all of the domain names from one registrar to another for a fee usually starting in the range of $10,000, but without actually renewing the domain name.

Imagine a domain reseller who has their account at a specific registrar has decided to get an ICANN accreditation of their own. The reseller now has two choices to proceed in order to transfer their customer’s domains from the old registrar to their own accreditation:

  1. Try to convince the registrants to switch the names to the new registrar (for example by giving them an incentive, such a reduced renewal rate) and move as many names as quickly as possible. If you’re going with this option, you will have to put some additional work into the transfer system in order to make the transfer as seamless as possible.
  2. Transfer the names at the time of their renewal, instead of just renewing them at the old registrar.

While a mixture of both strategies usually works best, there are always some issues that will be encountered. Some registrants will not want to move their names, while others will wait too long to initiate the renewal of the name, so it will be too late to transfer.

With the introduction of this new proposed service, the registry will now be able to transfer partial groups of names over to a new registrar, making this transition a whole lot easier. Of course this also means a new source of potential revenue for Verisign, as the charges are supposed to be between $5,000 and $50,000. Just as this may work for resellers and partial acquisition of registrars, this may also be an option for entities that manage a large number of domain names in a reseller account, if the losing registrar plays along. Even for an owner of a large portfolio of domains it may make sense to take advantage of this service, should they decide to become ICANN accredited (which we recommend for 10,000+ domains or very valuable domains).

If the names transferred are not owned or managed by one entity, it is important to keep in mind that the existing Registrar-Registrant agreement permits this type of transaction.