ICANN seeks to better protect domain-name registrants

The group want to update its registrar accreditation process

The Internet regulation body, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), is asking for the public's input as it revises its accreditation process for registrars, the companies that register and sell domain names.

ICANN wants to improve oversight of the Registrar Accreditation Agreement to offer increased protection to people who register domain names, according to a statement.

"The need for this review is clear. The current RAA is more than six years old. We've seen the number of accredited registrars grow to more than 900. And we've seen the incredible difficulties that can be unleashed with the collapse of a registrar," said Paul Twomey, ICANN's CEO and president, in the statement. Twomey sought the review in March, and said the process was moving into the "active consultation phase."

Officials from ICANN could not be reached for further comment.

As it stands, ICANN can only void an agreement with a registrar if it determines the registrar violated the agreement. ICANN wants to modify the agreement to include additional requirements for registrars, including allowing ICANN to take some kind of action short of termination -- the only option that currently exists -- and increasing the responsibilities of registrars regarding their relationships with resellers.

ICANN said it is looking for suggestions on ways to amend the registrar agreement.

ICANN became particularly concerned about the matter in March, when it had to strip domain name registrar RegisterFly of its accreditation because of poor service, a move that affected 850,000 generic top-level domain names.

In May, ICANN announced that GoDaddy.com would take over the domain names held by RegisterFly.

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