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MarkMonitor comments on ICANN Advisory

  • To: <retransfers-comments@xxxxxxxxx>
  • Subject: MarkMonitor comments on ICANN Advisory
  • From: "Matt Serlin" <matt.serlin@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Thu, 18 Oct 2007 15:19:55 -0600

MarkMonitor comments to ICANN's advisory regarding inter-registrar
As a leading registrar for corporations around the world, MarkMonitor is
very active in managing registrar transfers on behalf of our clients. We
believe that the published 2004 transfer policy is clear and appreciate
ICANN's efforts to further clarify this policy. The new advisory
addresses a number of transfer related problems that we have experienced
with some registrars in interpreting the 2004 policy. 
In regard to point #1 regarding denying transfers for non-payment of
fees for pending or future registration periods, we believe the advisory
is needed to address problems that have surfaced since the publication
of the 2004 ICANN transfer policy. The 2004 transfer policy clearly
states that nonpayment is not a valid reason to deny a transfer. Our
clients frequently transfer large numbers of domains away from their
current provider. Allowing a registrar to deny transfers for payment of
future registration periods essentially forces our new clients to pay
additional monies to its existing registrar for the sole purpose of
allowing the name to transfer away. We have also experienced problems
with certain registrars that unfairly assess penalties and transfer-out
fees in addition to registration fees, and believe that this practice
should also be addressed in the advisory. These are unfair practices
that should continue to be prohibited since they interfere with
competition among registrars, and the freedom of a registrant to do
business with its registrar of choice.
As it relates to point #2, MarkMonitor has experienced an increased
number of registrars adopting this policy over the past two years, which
has led to operational issues in managing our transfers. The 2004
transfer policy is very clear in stating why transfers can be rejected
and whois contact updates are clearly not included in this list. While
we understand and appreciate the rationale behind registrars adopting
this policy, we feel there are other steps that can be taken to help
safeguard registrants from domain name high jacking and other security
There are legitimate reasons for WHOIS contacts to be updated prior to
transfer. Since an FOA is required from the WHOIS contacts prior to the
transfer, the WHOIS record is often reviewed and updated to reflect the
new contacts in order to facilitate a smooth transfer. As our business
is comprised primarily of large corporations, we often process transfer
requests for thousands of domain names at a time. When transferring a
large portfolio of domain names, it is critical that the transfer
approval process is streamlined by the registrant to ensure a smooth
transition. As a result, that often means updating administrative
contact e-mails which then trigger the rejection of the transfer by the
existing registrar. 
With the growth of the secondary domain market, we have a growing number
of customers who are purchasing domains from third parties. Having to
hold these domains at a third party registrar before being able to
transfer to MarkMonitor creates an undue administrative burden and
forces the new registrant to do business with a registrar that is not of
their choosing. It is also our experience that registrars who have
implemented this policy typically do not provide notification to their
customers at the time of a WHOIS contact update that their action will
block a future transfer out request for a period of time. 
MarkMonitor clients who have been affected by these registrar transfer
restrictions have repeatedly complained to us of the associated delays
and have asked to be provided with the ICANN rules that allow this
policy. We welcome ICANN issuing this advisory and would support
enforcement of the original 2004 transfer policy that we feel would
prohibit these transfer rejections from taking place.
If you have any questions regarding these comments, please do not
hesitate to contact me.

Thank you, 

Matt Serlin 
Director, Domain Operations, MarkMonitor

Emerald Tech Center 
391 N. Ancestor Place 
Boise, Idaho 83704 
Direct: +1.208.685.1864 
Mobile: +1.208.794.6209 
Fax: +1.208.389.5771

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