ICANN: WHOIS Accuracy Reporting System (ARS) Criteria Updated to Include Operability Testing Criteria

ICANN logoICANN today published an updated version of the WHOIS Accuracy Reporting System (ARS) testing criteria. The updated version includes both the syntax criteria as well as the operability (operational) criteria for testing the accuracy of email addresses, phone numbers and postal addresses in WHOIS records.

These criteria will be used for Phase 2 of the WHOIS ARS, which is currently underway. The first Phase 2 report, which will provide accuracy estimates for both syntax and operability accuracy of WHOIS records in the gTLD space, is anticipated to be published in December 2015.

See the updated criteria.


ICANN reviews the WHOIS Program every three years as part of its Affirmation of Commitments (AoC). On 8 November 2012, the ICANN board approved a series of improvements to the manner in which ICANN carries out its oversight of the WHOIS Program based on recommendations made by the 2012 WHOIS Review Team. As part of these improvements, ICANN committed to proactively identifying potentially inaccurate gTLD WHOIS contact data and forwarding these records to registrars for investigation and follow-up. To accomplish these tasks, ICANN initiated the development of the WHOIS Accuracy Reporting System. Throughout the development ICANN has consulted and collaborated with the community.

The ARS is intended to lead to improvements over time in the accuracy of WHOIS data, which will be examined in subsequent ARS reports. The Phase 1 report, which focused exclusively on the syntax of WHOIS records, was released in August 2015.

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