One Thing Is Clear From ICANN: Law Enforcement Is Out in Full Force & Your Registrations Costs Will Go Up

Yesterday I was having a couple of meetings at the restaurant where the ICANN conference is being held with some clients.

As we were seated a large group walked passed us and sat down at the adjoining table and I couldn’t help but notice their attendee badges.

Homeland Security, ICE, Interpol, FBI, DOJ.

Serious guys.

It was a large group of over 10 and all were law enforcement from all around the world.

Its clear to those of who have attended the last few ICANN meetings that law enforcement is insisting that registrars know their customers, the domain holders.

While privacy will still be affording to those desirous of having their personal information not listed on the public whois, its clear law enforcement is going to push registrars into a “know your customer” environment.

Law enforcement has made it pretty clear that registrars are going to “voluntarily” comply with law enforcement’s demands or face legislation or regulation forcing them to do so and that you the domain holder are going to pay the registrars cost of complying.

Phil Corwin of the Internet Commerce Association has come to the same conclusion and just published an excellent article on the issue, which I urge all of you to read.

In part Mr. Corwin states:

“”(In the) ongoing negotiations between ICANN and its Registrar Stakeholder Group to beef up the registrar Accreditation Agreement (RAA), particularly in response to urgent requests from national law enforcement agencies. ”

“And the heart of those negotiations is an increased effort to obtain and confirm valid WHOIS data to confirm that registrants are legitimate and can be readily contacted, and that their identification data is retained. ”

“ICANN staff reported that the negotiations could be concluded within the next few weeks, and that incentives will be offered to encourage quick registrar adoption.”

“We don’t have to look far to estimate the cost of enhanced WHOIS verification.”

“ICM registry already employs such measures for the .XXX domain, and at a session on WHOIS compliance held the previous day the CEO of ICM Registry described the scope of its effort and their price. ”

“ICM expends about $6 per registrant for WHOIS verification; on average, each registrant purchases three domains, bringing the per domain price down to $2.”

“WHOIS compliance will be a much higher percentage of the price for incumbent gTLDs as well as many of the new ones on their way.”

“Of course, registrants may pay for their domains for up to ten years at a time, and it is not yet clear what requirements will be placed on registrars to verify the WHOIS data of existing registrants, and all of that will affect how this enhanced compliance affects domain pricing by registrars.”

“Nonetheless, we suspect that the cost of registrant WHOIS verification for all gTLDs will be similar to what ICM now expends, and it is not trivial.”

“In a highly competitive marketplace registrars will have no choice but to pass this cost on to registrants.”

“So, while we sympathize with the need of law enforcement to have the ability to identify bad actors, and understand that effective WHOIS verification can prevent many ill-intentioned domains from ever being registered,   it is also important that these new steps to ensure domain integrity remain feasible in scope and reasonable in cost.”


  1. says

    “ICM expends about $6 per registrant for WHOIS verification; on average, each registrant purchases three domains, bringing the per domain price down to $2.”

    So for those of us with say, ten or twenty domains, we’re paying quite some extra than, wouldn’t we be?As well, an increase in domain registrations could do some good for the online realty situation in my perspective.

  2. Bout Time says

    That is great news. Its about time. Since domainers appear to be incapable of monitoring and managing themselves the feds seem to be the right option. In case you have not been able to tell from the recent udrp decisions the glory days of anything goes are over, or almost over.

  3. Michael says

    Bout Time, what percentage of domain owners are incapable of monitoring themselves? You make it sound like they are all having trouble doing so, while it is probably much more truthful that only a very small percentage are.

    In any event, this reminds me of the smog checks we have to have performed on our cars here in California every 2 years. Mine, like most cars, passes with flying colors, and yet I still have to pay around $45 to have this test done, over and over. Well, at least someone is making money, and I guess that’s what it’s really all about.

  4. says

    If the cost is 6$ per registrant, and each registrant on average is registering three domain names… who long are they keeping those domains for? I haven’t been able to find this information, and it seems pretty important in that equation.

  5. says

    FTC Action Leads to Court Order Shutting Down Pyramid Scam Thousands of Consumers Burned

    “The court’s final judgment and order bars the defendants from engaging in pyramid, Ponzi, or chain letter schemes or any schemes in which compensation for recruitment is unrelated to the sale of product to customers who are not participants. The order bars misrepresentations about multi-level marketing operations or business ventures, including misrepresentations about sales, income, profitability, or legality of the operations. If the defendants make claims about earnings, sales, or profits, the order requires them to disclose the number and percentage of participants in the business venture who have earned, sold or profited that much.”

    no gTLDs for these folks ?

  6. says

    http: // www. fcc. gov/events/communications-security-reliability-and-interoperability-council-csric-meeting-2

    U.S. FCC Meetings confirm .COM and .US will get VERY Expensive to own

    Some ISPs may only carry the .COM Channels that also are TLDs
    That would cost a .COM owner $185,000 and $25,000 per year

    Just as with cable TV – your .COM will not be guaranteed to be resolved for consumers. None of the .ORG and .NET domains will be resolved.

    .AM .FM and .TV are also likely to become very expensive – watch the videos from this week’s FCC meetings – ICANN was there

  7. says

    “Today, an industry advisory group for the Federal Communications Commission
    (FCC), the Communications, Security, Reliability, and Interoperability Council (CSRIC), unanimously
    adopted recommendations for voluntary action by Internet service providers (ISPs) to combat three major
    cyber security threats, including botnets, attacks on the Domain Name System (DNS), and Internet route
    hijacking. ”


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