VeriSign told to tidy records or lose domain sales

The US Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) threatened to strip VeriSign Inc. of its ability to sell ".com" domain names Tuesday if the registrar does not clean up inaccuracies in the public database that records who owns which Web sites.

ICANN, the nonprofit group that oversees matters relating to the Internet addressing system, gave VeriSign 15 working days to correct inaccuracies in the "Whois" database, saying that the leading registrar has "exhibited a pattern of persistent violations."

Although the regulatory body said that nearly all of the 150 accredited registrars complied with requests to correct inaccurate information in their Whois records, VeriSign repeatedly ignored ICANN's requests, forcing it to take more stringent measures.

ICANN flagged 17 specific inaccuracies in the database, and said that it would give notice of the termination of VeriSign's domain accreditation agreement if the corrections weren't made within the deadline of 15 working days. VeriSign may then chose to initiate arbitration against the action, ICANN said.

No one from VeriSign was immediately available to comment Wednesday morning.

The Whois database is used to record information on who owns which Web sites, providing the relevant contact details, as well as allowing the public to verify whether a domain name is available or not. Saying that the database is an important consumer tool, ICANN said that it will take the necessary measures to ensure its accuracy.

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