Comments on the Transfer Policy
February 1, 2005 The Go Daddy Group of ICANN Accredited Registrars submits the following specific comments regarding the New Transfer Policy ("Policy"). 1) Some registrars are charging registrants a fee to transfer away their domain name. This appears to be an attempt to get around section 3 of the Policy, which states that nonpayment for a pending or future registration period is not an acceptable reason to deny a transfer. The Policy should state clearly that losing registrars are not allowed to charge registrants for the privilege of transferring their domain names. 2) Sub-sections ii and iii of Section 4 of the Policy need to be enforced. In some instances, we have not received any responses to repeated inquiries to some of these addresses. And in some instances the designated email address is an auto-responder that directs you to the registrar's general support site. As an enforcement mechanism, the email addresses submitted for this purpose should be periodically verified. If they cannot be verified the registrar should be put on notice. The timeframe for a response from these addresses should be reduced to 5 days (currently 7 days). There should be no problem with a registrar at least confirming receipt of the inquiry within that timeframe. 3) We have seen more than a few cases where the gaining registrar has received appropriate confirmation of a transfer request from the current Administrative Contact of record for the domain name. After the transfer completed, the Registered Name Holder of record at the time of the transfer claims that they did NOT approve the transfer and want it reversed. The Policy states that the Registered Name Holder's authority supersedes that of the Administrative Contact. Although the transfer was valid based on the current Policy the registrars are left to work together to reverse the transfer or face a formal dispute or legal action. Is this the intent of the Policy? It opens up the potential for fraud, for example, in the event of a domain name sale and transfer. It also puts a burden on the registrar to attempt to verify the identity of the Registered Name Holder. Since most Whois records do not list the Registered Name Holder's email address, we need to rely on other documentation. However, given the international nature of our businesses, if we rely on photo identifications and business licenses from the Registered Name Holder we could easily be defrauded. In addition, apparently due to the situation noted above, some registrars have adopted a hard copy transfer process centered on getting confirmation only from Registered Name Holders. This not only slows down the process for the Registered Name Holders, but puts registrars at increased risk and expense as they attempt to verify identification information from an international user base. We suggest further discussion among the stakeholders, including ICANN, to clarify this area of the Policy. 4) If a Registered Name Holder feels that a third party has illegally hijacked his or her domain name through a transfer, they may lodge a UDRP dispute. This complicates the issue since the registrars involved may be willing to work to correct the situation but now have their hands tied since they are obligated to lock down the domain name. This also conflicts with the TDRP, which should be the recommended and preferred method for a dispute regarding a transfer. It may be appropriate if the UDRP provider was required to refer the Registered Name Holder to the TDRP in cases that involve a transfer if that dispute mechanism has not already been tried, or to the registrars involved if they have not yet been consulted or yet allowed to work it out between themselves. 5) There is an ambiguity in the Policy regarding the conditions under which losing registrars may request FOAs from a gaining registrar. Sub-section 2.1.3 of the Policy states that a losing registrar may not deny a transfer request solely because it believes that the gaining registrar has not received confirmation, and the presumption in all cases will be that the gaining registrar has received and authenticated the transfer request. However, it appears that some registrars are taking the second paragraph of Section 4 of the Policy in conjunction with item 4 of Section 3 and making a request for the gaining registrars FOA on every transfer, claiming that if it is not provided it creates a reasonable dispute over the identity of the Registered Name Holder. There are at least three problems with this interpretation. First, it conflicts with sub-section 2.1.3 of the Policy. Second, the gaining registrar has 5 days to respond to the request for the FOA, and the transfer request must be responded to within 5 days or it is automatically approved by the registry. This will result in many, if not most, of these transfers being denied by the losing registrar requesting the FOA. Third, if the Policy is left as it is, every registrar will begin asking every other registrar for the FOA for every transfer. This will only complicate the process and bog it down even further. The Policy needs to be modified to avoid these problems. The losing registrar should be allowed, if not required, to confirm the transfer with the Registered Name Holder AND deny the transfer if that confirmation is not responded to. The lack of this ability on the part of the losing registrar accounts for a large number of the issues being created by this new Policy. 6) The new registry tool to reverse a transfer does not seem to be an efficient mechanism in many cases. It can take several days to complete although both registrars have agreed to it. We have also had instances where canceling a first-level dispute, after coming to agreement with the other registrar, can take several days. The TDRP and/or Supplemental Rules should be modified/required to provide for a response from the registry within 48 hours of receiving the request from both registrars to cancel a dispute. The Policy should be modified to require the registry to complete a reversal within 48 hours IF both the losing and gaining registrar make such a request. The current 5 day window is unnecessary and prolongs a bad situation for the registrars involved and, more importantly, the Registered Name Holder. Sincerely, Tim Ruiz Vice President, Domain Services The Go Daddy Group, Inc. GoDaddy.com Wild West Domains, Inc. Blue Razor Domains, Inc.