11/12/04...Beginning today, the new ICANN transfer policy goes into effect. The new ICANN transfer policy is being implemented because of widespread abuse by many registrars. They effectively hold their customer's domain names hostage by making it extremely difficult for disgruntled customers to transfer domains away from these companies.
No need to mention any names, but we'll give you a hint. The registrars that are whining like yapping poodles about your domains being hijacked are likely culprits.
There has been widespread complaints from domain name owners who've experienced continued frustration in their attempts to transfer domains away from the overpriced or lousy services from their current registrars.
How do we know?...We've experienced it first hand. We've had dozens of transfer attempts blocked by these companies and all we are able to tell our prospective customers is, "We're sorry."
Domain registrations provide a guaranteed recurring income and the losing registrars don't give up that income without a fight, regardless of the effect on their customers. Hopefully these new changes will address the needs of the domain owners instead of the registrars.
If you're looking to transfer away from your current registrar, you should give devNIC a look. Our domain transfers are competitively priced at $14.95 and include an additional year added to your current expiration date.
Below, you'll find the details to the new ICANN policy on transfers.
1. Registrar Requirements
Registered Name Holders must be able to transfer their domain name registrations
between Registrars provided that the Gaining Registrar's transfer process
meets the minimum standards of this policy and that such transfer is
not prohibited by ICANN or Registry policies. Inter-Registrar domain
name transfer processes must be clear and concise in order to avoid
confusion. Further, Registrars should make reasonable efforts to inform
Registered Name Holders of, and provide access to, the published documentation
of the specific transfer process employed by the Registrars.
1.1 Transfer Authorities
The Administrative Contact and the Registered Name Holder, as listed
in the Losing Registrar's or applicable Registry's (where available)
publicly accessible WHOIS service are the only parties that have the
authority to approve or deny a transfer request to the Gaining Registrar.
In the event of a dispute, the Registered Name Holder's authority
supersedes that of the Administrative Contact.
Registrars may use Whois data from either the Registrar of Record or
the relevant Registry for the purpose of verifying the authenticity
of a transfer request; or from another data source as determined by
a consensus policy.
2. Gaining Registrar Requirements
For each instance where a Registered Name Holder requests to transfer a
domain name registration to a different Registrar, the Gaining Registrar
2.1 Obtain express authorization from either the Registered Name
Holder or the Administrative Contact (hereafter, "Transfer Contact").
Hence, a transfer may only proceed if confirmation of the transfer
is received by the Gaining Registrar from the Transfer Contact.
2.1.1 The authorization must be made via a valid Standardized Form
of Authorization (FOA). There are two different FOA's available
at the ICANN website. The FOA labeled "Initial Authorization
for Registrar Transfer" must be used by the Gaining Registrar
to request an authorization for a registrar transfer from the Transfer
Contact. The FOA labeled "Confirmation of Registrar Transfer
Request" may be used by the Registrar of Record to request
confirmation of the transfer from the Transfer Contact.
The FOA shall be communicated in English, and any dispute arising
out of a transfer request shall be conducted in the English language.
Registrars may choose to communicate with the Transfer Contact in
additional languages. However, Registrars choosing to exercise such
option are responsible for the accuracy and completeness of the
translation into such additional non-English version of the FOA.
2.1.2 In the event that the Gaining Registrar relies on a physical
process to obtain this authorization, a paper copy of the FOA will
suffice insofar as it has been signed by the Transfer Contact and
further that it is accompanied by a physical copy of the Registrar
of Record's Whois output for the domain name in question.
188.8.131.52 If the Gaining Registrar relies on a physical authorization
process, then the Gaining Registrar assumes the burden of obtaining
reliable evidence of the identity of the Transfer Contact and
maintaining appropriate records proving that such evidence was
obtained. Further the Gaining Registrar also assumes the burden
for ensuring that the entity making the request is indeed authorized
to do so. The acceptable forms of physical identity are:
- Notarized statement
- Valid Drivers license
- Article of Incorporation
- Military ID
- State/Government issued ID
- Birth Certificate
2.1.3 In the event that the Gaining Registrar relies on an electronic
process to obtain this authorization the acceptable forms of identity
- Electronic signature in conformance with national legislation,
in the location of the Gaining Registrar (if such legislation
- Consent from an individual or entity that has an email address
matching the Transfer Contact email address.
The Registrar of Record may not deny a transfer request solely
because it believes that the Gaining Registrar has not received
the confirmation set forth above.
A transfer must not be allowed to proceed if no confirmation is
received by the Gaining Registrar. The presumption in all cases
will be that the Gaining Registrar has received and authenticated
the transfer request made by a Transfer Contact.
2.2 Request, by the transmission of a "transfer" command as specified
in the Registrar Tool Kit, that the Registry Operator database be
changed to reflect the new Registrar.
2.2.1 Transmission of a "transfer" command constitutes
a representation on the part of the Gaining Registrar that the requisite
authorization has been obtained from the Transfer Contact listed
in the authoritative Whois database.
2.2.2 The Gaining Registrar is responsible for validating the Registered
Name Holder requests to transfer domain names between Registrars.
However, this does not preclude the Registrar of Record from exercising
its option to independently confirm the Registered Name Holder's
intent to transfer its domain name to the Gaining Registrar in accordance
with Section 3 of this policy.
3. Obligations of the Registrar of Record
A Registrar of Record can choose independently to confirm the intent of
the Registered Name Holder when a notice of a pending transfer is received
from the Registry. The Registrar of Record must do so in a manner consistent
with the standards set forth in this agreement pertaining to Gaining
Registrars. In order to ensure that the form of the request employed
by the Registrar of Record is substantially administrative and informative
in nature and clearly provided to the Transfer Contact for the purpose
of verifying the intent of the Transfer Contact, the Registrar of Record
must use the FOA.
The FOA shall be communicated in English, and any dispute arising out of
a transfer request, shall be conducted in the English language. Registrars
may choose to communicate with the Transfer Contact in additional languages.
However, the Registrar choosing to exercise such option is responsible
for the accuracy and completeness of the translation into such additional
non-English version of the FOA. Further, such non-English communications
must follow the processes and procedures set forth in this policy. This
includes but is not limited to the requirement that no Registrar shall
add any additional information to the FOA used to obtain the consent
of the Transfer Contact in the case of a transfer request.
This requirement does not preclude the Registrar of Record from marketing
to its existing customers through separate communications.
The FOA should be sent by the Registrar of Record to the Transfer Contact
as soon as operationally possible, but must be sent not later than twenty-four
(24) hours after receiving the transfer request from the Registry Operator.
Failure by the Registrar of Record to respond within five (5) calendar
days to a notification from the Registry regarding a transfer request
will result in a default "approval" of the transfer.
In the event that a Transfer Contact listed in the Whois has not confirmed
their request to transfer with the Registrar of Record and the Registrar
of Record has not explicitly denied the transfer request, the default
action will be that the Registrar of Record must allow the transfer
Upon denying a transfer request for any of the following reasons, the Registrar
of Record must provide the Registered Name Holder and the potential
Gaining Registrar with the reason for denial. The Registrar of Record
may deny a transfer request only in the following specific instances:
- Evidence of fraud
- UDRP action
- Court order by a court of competent jurisdiction
- Reasonable dispute over the identity of the Registered Name Holder
or Administrative Contact
- No payment for previous registration period (including credit card
charge-backs) if the domain name is past its expiration date or for
previous or current registration periods if the domain name has not
yet expired. In all such cases, however, the domain name must be put
into "Registrar Hold" status by the Registrar of Record
prior to the denial of transfer.
- Express written objection to the transfer from the Transfer Contact.
(e.g. - email, fax, paper document or other processes by which the
Transfer Contact has expressly and voluntarily objected through opt-in
- A domain name was already in “lock status” provided
that the Registrar provides a readily accessible and reasonable means
for the Registered Name Holder to remove the lock status.
- A domain name is in the first 60 days of an initial registration
- A domain name is within 60 days (or a lesser period to be determined)
after being transferred (apart from being transferred back to the
original Registrar in cases where both Registrars so agree and/or
where a decision in the dispute resolution process so directs).
Instances when the requested change of Registrar may not be denied include,
but are not limited to:
- Nonpayment for a pending or future registration period
- No response from the Registered Name Holder or Administrative Contact.
- Domain name in Registrar Lock Status, unless the Registered Name
Holder is provided with the reasonable opportunity and ability to
unlock the domain name prior to the Transfer Request.
- Domain name registration period time constraints, other than during
the first 60 days of initial registration or during the first 60 days
after a registrar transfer.
- General payment defaults between Registrar and business partners
/ affiliates in cases where the Registered Name Holder for the domain
in question has paid for the registration.
The Registrar of Record has other mechanisms available to collect payment
from the Registered Name Holder that are independent from the Transfer
process. Hence, in the event of a dispute over payment, the Registrar
of Record must not employ transfer processes as a mechanism to secure
payment for services from a Registered Name Holder. Exceptions to this
requirement are as follows:
(i) In the case of non-payment for previous registration period(s)
if the transfer is requested after the expiration date, or
(ii) In the case of non-payment of the current registration period,
if transfer is requested before the expiration date.
4. Registrar Coordination
Each Registrar is responsible for keeping copies of documentation, including
the FOA and the Transfer Contacts response thereto, that may be required
for filing and supporting a dispute under the dispute resolution policy.
Gaining Registrars must maintain copies of the FOA as received from
the Transfer Contact as per the standard document retention policies
of the contracts. Copies of the reliable evidence of identity must be
kept with the FOA.
Both the Gaining Registrar and the Registrar of Record must provide
the evidence relied on for the transfer during and after the applicable
inter-registrar domain name transaction(s). Such information must be
provided when requested by, and only by, the other Registrar that is
party to the transfer transaction. Additionally, ICANN, the Registry
Operator, a court or authority with jurisdiction over the matter or
a third party dispute resolution panel may also require such information
within five (5) days of the request.
The Gaining Registrar must retain, and produce pursuant to a request by
a Losing Registrar, a written or electronic copy of the FOA. In instances
where the Registrar of Record has requested copies of the FOA, the Gaining
Registrar must fulfill the Registrar of Records request (including providing
the attendant supporting documentation) within five (5) calendar days.
Failure to provide this documentation within the time period specified
is grounds for reversal by the Registry Operator or the Dispute Resolution
Panel in the event that a transfer complaint is filed in accordance
with the requirements of this policy.
If either a Registrar of Record or a Gaining Registrar does not believe
that a transfer request was handled in accordance with the provisions
of this policy, then the Registrar may initiate a dispute resolution
procedure as set forth in Section C of this policy.
For purposes of facilitating transfer requests, Registrars should provide
and maintain a unique and private email address for use only by other
Registrars and the Registry:
i. This email address is for issue related to transfer requests and
the procedures set forth in this policy only.
ii. The email address should be managed to ensure messages are received
by someone who can respond to the transfer issue.
iii. Messages received at such email address must be responded to within
a commercial reasonable timeframe not to exceed seven (7) calendar
5. EPP - based Registry Requirements for Registrars
In EPP-based gTLD Registries, Registrars must follow the requirements set
Registrars must provide the Registered Name Holder with the unique "AuthInfo"
code within five (5) calendar days of the Registered Name Holder's initial
request if the Registrar does not provide facilities for the Registered
Name Holder to generate and manage their own unique "AuthInfo"
Registrars may not employ any mechanism for complying with a Registered
Name Holder's request to obtain the applicable "AuthInfo Code"
that is more restrictive than the mechanisms used for changing any aspect
of the Registered Name Holder's contact or name server information.
The Registrar of Record must not refuse to release an "AuthInfo Code"
to the Registered Name Holder solely because there is a dispute between
the Registered Name Holder and the Registrar over payment.
Registrar-generated "AuthInfo" codes must be unique on a per-domain
The "Auth-Info" codes must be used solely to identify a Registered
Name Holder, whereas the FOA's still need to be used for authorization
or confirmation of a transfer request, as described in Section 2 and
Section 4 of this policy.
6. Registry Requirements
Upon receipt of the "transfer" command from the Gaining Registrar,
Registry Operator will transmit an electronic notification to both Registrars.
In the case of those Registries that use electronic mail notifications,
the response notification may be sent to the unique email address established
by each Registrar for the purpose of facilitating transfers.
The Registry Operator shall complete the requested transfer unless, within
five (5) calendar days, Registry Operator receives a NACK protocol command
from the Registrar of Record.
When the Registry's database has been updated to reflect the change to
the Gaining Registrar, Registry Operator will transmit an electronic
notification to both Registrars. The notification may be sent to the
unique email address established by each Registrar for the purpose of
facilitating transfers or such other email address agreed to by the
The Registry Operator shall undo a transfer if, after a transfer has occurred,
the Registry Operator receives one of the notices as set forth below.
In such case, the transfer will be reversed and the domain name reset
to its original state. The Registry Operator must undo the transfer
within five (5) calendar days of receipt of the notice except in the
case of a Registry dispute decision, in which case the Registry Operator
must undo the transfer within fourteen calendar days unless a court
action is filed. The notice required shall be one of the following:
i. Agreement of the Registrar of Record and the Gaining Registrar
sent by email, letter or fax that the transfer was made by mistake
or was otherwise not in accordance with the procedures set forth in
ii. The final determination of a dispute resolution body having jurisdiction
over the transfer; or
iii. Order of a court having jurisdiction over the transfer.
7. Records of Registration
Each Registrar shall require its customer, the Registered Name Holder,
to maintain its own records appropriate to document and prove the initial
domain name registration date.
8. Effect on Term of Registration
The completion by Registry Operator of a holder-authorized transfer under
this Part A shall result in a one-year extension of the existing registration,
provided that in no event shall the total unexpired term of a registration
exceed ten (10) years.
Transfer of the sponsorship of all the registrations sponsored by one Registrar
as the result of (i) acquisition of that Registrar or its assets by another
Registrar, or (ii) lack of accreditation of that Registrar or lack of
its authorization with the Registry Operator, may be made according to
the following procedure:
Upon satisfaction of these two conditions, Registry Operator will make the
necessary one-time changes in the Registry database for no charge, for
transfers involving 50,000 name registrations or fewer. If the transfer
involves registrations of more than 50,000 names, Registry Operator will
charge the gaining Registrar a one-time flat fee of US$ 50,000.
Procedures for handling disputes concerning inter-registrar transfers are set
forth in the Transfer Dispute Resolution Policy. Procedures in this policy
must be followed by the applicable Registry Operators and ICANN accredited