ICANN: Whois Information Status Policy

ICANN logoPurpose (Brief): 

ICANN is opening a Public Comment Period for the proposed Whois Information Status Policy. Members of the Internet Community are asked to provide feedback on the proposed document. The proposed Policy is based on a recommendation from the Generic Names Supporting Organization Council related to the display of statuses in the Whois output by registry operators and registrars.

Current Status: 

The Generic Names Supporting Organization Council (“GNSO“) initiated a Policy Development Process in June 2009, which resulted in the submission of several policy and process recommendations to the ICANN Board of Directors, which the Board approved on 6 May 2012. ICANN staff developed this proposed Policy on the basis of a recommendation from a Working Group convened by the GNSO.

Next Steps: 

ICANN will review the submitted comments and, where appropriate, incorporate suggested modifications into the Policy. Once finalized, the Policy will be implemented and made effective for all gTLD registrars and registries.

Detailed Information

Section I: Description, Explanation, and Purpose:

The Registry Agreements between the gTLD registry operators and ICANN as well as the Registrar Accreditation Agreement between the ICANN accredited registrars and ICANN require registry operators and registrars to provide a publicly available Whois service that makes available certain data related to the domain names that are registered via the respective registry operators and registrars. In most of the cases, those data include domain name statuses. The names of the existing statuses often vary between the registry operators and the registrars, while some of them don’t make any information available about the meaning of each status they use, which might create confusion among users.

The purpose of the proposed Whois Information Status Policy is to create consistency across by requiring registry operators and registrars that display statuses in their Whois output to only refer to EPP status codes [PDF, 98 KB] and to include a link to an ICANN web page with a list of the statuses and their meaning.

The proposed Policy does not require registry operators and registrars to display statuses in their Whois output if they are not already obligated to do so, but it requires those who do display statuses to only use the EPP status codes and to provide the link noted above in their output. In that regard ICANN is also seeking comment from the community about whether the Policy should require all registry operators and registrars to display Whois statuses in their Whois output.

Section II: Background:

On 24 June 2009, the GNSO Council launched a Policy Development Process (PDP) in connection to the Inter-Registrar Transfer Policy (gnso.icann.org/en/council/resolutions#200906 – resolution 20090624-2) and the PDP working group submitted its Final Report on 30 May 2011 with a set of recommendations (gnso.icann.org/issues/transfers/irtp-b-final-report-30may11-en.pdf [PDF, 972 KB]), including Recommendation #8: to standardize and clarify Whois status messages regarding “Registrar Lock” status. On 22 June 2011, the GNSO Council resolved that prior to the consideration of approval of the recommendation regarding the standardizing and clarifying Whois status messages regarding Registrar Lock status, the GNSO Council would request ICANN staff to provide a proposal designed to ensure a technically feasible approach can be developed to meet this recommendation. In response to this request, ICANN Staff developed a proposal in consultation with the IRTP Part B working group, which was posted for public comment and subsequently adopted by the GNSO Council on 16 February 2012 (gnso.icann.org/en/council/resolutions#20120216-1). Following another public comment forum on the recommendation and proposal (www.icann.org/en/news/public-comment/irtp-b-rec8-21feb12-en.htm) the ICANN Board adopted these on 6 May 2012. (www.icann.org/en/groups/board/documents/resolutions-06may12-en.htm#1.5)

Section III: Document and Resource Links:
Whois Information Status Policy [PDF, 52 KB]

Comment / Reply Periods:

  • Comment Open Date: 10 May 2013
  • Comment Close Date: 31 May 2013 – 23:59 UTC
  • Reply Open Date: 3 June 2013
  • Reply Close Date: 24 June 2013 – 23:59 UTC