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ICANN Bucharest Meeting Topic: Redemption Grace Periods for Deleted Names (Technical Steering Group's Implementation Proposal)

Posted: 7 June 2002

Redemption Grace Periods for Deleted Names
(Technical Steering Group's Implementation Proposal)

Introduction

In response to a growing trend of complaints about unintentional domain-name deletions, ICANN earlier this year proposed a “Redemption Grace Period” for deleted names. ICANN posted several discussion papers, and the idea gathered widespread community support.

At the ICANN meeting in Accra, Ghana, ICANN’s Board adopted resolution 02.45 authorizing the convening of a Technical Steering Group in order "to develop a concrete proposal implementing the Redemption Grace Period Proposal, to be considered by the Board at a later meeting after posting on the ICANN web site and an opportunity for public comment."

The following document represents the Technical Steering Group’s proposal:


Extended Delete Pending Period

In general terms, the Technical Steering Group proposes to implement the so-called "Redemption Grace Period" in two stages. In the first stage, a "safety net" would be established to prevent unintentional deletions by extending the applicability and duration of the current "Delete Pending Period" and creating a new "RESTORE" capability at the registry level that will permit the "redemption" of unintentionally deleted names. In the second stage, implementation of a capability allowing inter-registrar transfers of deleted names would allow registrants to choose which registrar will “restore” their inadvertently deleted names.

Under the proposal, the Delete Pending Period would be extended from five (5) days to thirty (30) days, and would be expanded to cover almost all names deleted by registrars (the only exception would be for names deleted within the first five days after their initial registration). The new proposed RESTORE capability would effectively undo the unintentional deletion, returning the name to the state it was in prior to its deletion.

The Delete Pending Period is a specified number of calendar days following a request to delete a Registered Name in which the Registered Name is placed in HOLD status without removing the Registered Name from the Registry database. The value of the Delete Pending Period for all registrars is proposed to be set at thirty (30) calendar days.

Names that are in the Delete Pending Period will remain in the registry database, on registry-hold, unavailable for re-registration. All attributes of the Registered Name will remain unmodified. For the .com, .net and, .org TLDs, these attributes consist of creation date, expiration date, nameservers, and sponsoring registrar; for .biz, .info, and .name they also include the name, postal address, e-mail address, voice telephone number, and (where available) fax number of the domain name registrant, and the technical and administrative contacts for each Registered Name. As is currently the case with names in the Delete Pending Period, a status attribute will be added to the Registered Name that prevents the Registrar from modifying or renewing the Registered Name.

During the Delete Pending Period:

  • RENEW or AUTO-RENEW requests are ignored.
  • TRANSFER requests are denied (this would change in Stage 2 implementation – see below).
  • BULK TRANSFER operations are allowed. (The gaining registrar in any ICANN-approved bulk transfer assumes the role of the deleting registrar with regards to any name in the Delete Pending Period sponsored by the losing registrar at the time of the transfer.)

If no action is taken by the end of the Delete Pending Period, the Registered Name will be deleted from the Registry database and returned (after a five-day hold to provide equal notice) to the pool of domain names available for registration by any registrar.

Creation of New "RESTORE" Capability

The Technical Steering Group proposes the creation of a new "RESTORE" capability that can be provided by a registry to registrars via one or more of the following methods: a modification of the registry/registrar protocol, an administration website, a fax service, or a telephone service. The RESTORE capability will only affect names that are within the Delete Pending Period. In other words, all RESTORE requests for names not in the Delete Pending Period will be ignored.

(Note: at this stage, the Technical Steering Group is only specifying the requirements for the capability registries would need to implement in order to give effect to the Redemption Grace Period proposal. Registries may permit registrars to “restore” or “un-delete” a name during Delete Pending Period by means of registries’ web-based or telephone customer service systems. Subject to the Internet standards process, the RESTORE capability could also be implemented at a future date as a protocol command or extension. All provisions of this proposal apply equally to all names that are “restored” through any registry-registrar interface.)

A successful RESTORE will terminate the Delete Pending Period, remove the deleted status attribute from the registration, and return the Registered Name to the same state it was in immediately prior to the delete request.

If the Registered Name is past its expiration date at the time it is restored, its registration term will be extended by the registry system by the minimum term of years necessary to bring it current and the sponsoring registrar will be debited for the renewal term.

There will be no "Restore Grace Period" (during which a name might be deleted for a refund). The Add Grace Period, Renew/Extend Grace Period, and Auto-Renew Grace Period will not be triggered by the use of the RESTORE command, nor by any extension of the registration term which is necessitated by the restoration of a name that is past its expiration date.

Interaction with Applicable Grace Periods

The Redemption Grace Period Proposal would modify the behavior of most current registry "grace periods," primarily by specifying that names deleted within an applicable grace period will no longer be immediately deleted from the registry database and made available for registration by any Registrar. Instead, names deleted within the Renew/Extend Grace Period, the Auto-Renew Grace Period, or the Transfer Grace Period would be placed in Delete Pending status for a thirty-day hold period.

The registration fee credit provisions for all grace periods would remain unchanged under the proposal. Although the exact details vary by registry, registrars would continue to receive a credit for recent registration fees for names that are deleted or transferred away within 5 days of a Renew/Extend or Transfer, or within 45 days of an Auto-Renew.

Add Grace Period Exception

The Technical Steering Group determined that it would not be appropriate to extend the Delete Pending Period to cover names that are deleted within the Add Grace Period (currently set at 5 days within initial registration of a name).

Allowing a 30-day option to restore names that registrars had registered and deleted (within five days) for free might create opportunities for undesirable behavior (e.g., registering millions of names and deleting them all within 5 days for a full refund would result in a free and exclusive 35-day option on the rights to those names). Also, there is less need for a “Redemption Grace Period” for recently registered names (because they have not been in use for long by the registrant).

Registry Transparency Requirements for Deleted Names

In order to ensure fairness to all registrants and registrars, the Technical Steering Group proposes that deleted and restored names should be handled as openly and transparently as feasible. Original registrants and those wishing to be "next in line" to register a name that is being deleted should be able to tell when a name was deleted and when it will be "returned to the pool" of names available for registration.

Accordingly, under the proposal, a registry Whois check on a name that is within the Delete Pending Period would return at least the following information:

Domain Name: example.com
Sponsoring Registrar: exampleregistrar.com
Domain Status: DELETE PENDING PERIOD
Delete Requested: 31-may-2002

Also, registries should make available to all registrars (via FTP or other means) lists of all deleted names and the corresponding deletion (or drop) dates.

At the conclusion of the 30-day Delete Pending Period, the registry should no longer permit the registrar to RESTORE a deleted name. The Technical Steering Group proposes that registries would remove names from their database (making them available for re-registration) at the conclusion of a five-day hold that would follow the end of the Delete Pending Period. This additional hold period will serve to give all registrars equal notice about which names will actually drop.

Registrar Transparency Requirements for Restored Names

Registrars may only RESTORE Registered Names in order to correct unintentional deletions caused by registrant, registrar, or registry mistake (or as required by operation of the UDRP or other applicable dispute resolution policy in order to implement a court, arbitral tribunal or Administrative Panel decision). Registrars should not restore names in order to assume the rights to use or sell them.

In order to facilitate verification of registrar compliance, within two (2) business days after transmitting a RESTORE request for a deleted Registered Name, Registrar would be required to submit a "Registrar RESTORE Report" to ICANN and the Registry Operator concerning the circumstances that created the need to Restore the Registered Name. (One report may be submitted for multiple restored Registered Names, as long as the facts requiring a Restore are similar.)

The Registrar Restore Report will be transmitted electronically according to a format to be specified, and shall include the following contents:

  1. A copy of the Whois data for the deleted name, as it appeared prior to the deletion;
  2. A copy of the Whois data for the deleted name, as it appears at the time the report is being submitted;
  3. The date and time the Registered Name was deleted;
  4. The date and time the Registered Name was restored;
  5. A brief written explanation of the reason why the Registered Name was Restored (e.g., registrant mistake, registrar mistake, registry mistake, dispute resolution);
  6. A statement that the registrar has not restored the Registered Name in order to assume the rights to use or sell the Registered Name for itself or for any third party (unless the name was restored as required to give effect to an order or decision from a court, arbitral tribunal or Administrative Panel – in such cases a copy of the order should be included with the report); and
  7. A statement that the information in the Restore Report is true to best of the registrar’s knowledge, and that the registrar acknowledges that intentionally supplying false information in the Restore Report shall constitute an incurable material breach of the Registry-Registrar Agreement.

If the registrar fails to submit a complete Registrar Restore Report at the end of five business days after restoring a Registered Name, the registry operator would, following an attempt to notify the registrar by both telephone and e-mail, automatically rescind/undo the RESTORE (with no refund to the registrar), and return the name to deleted status, subject to a new 30-day Delete Pending Period.

The registry would keep copies of all Registrar Restore Reports, subject to ICANN review, and would include in its monthly report to ICANN the number of Restore Reports received.

In order to ensure the effectiveness of these transparency and compliance provisions, the registry operator should prevent Registered Names from being transferred to a different registrar, extended/renewed, or deleted within the first five days after being restored.

Registry Fees for Restoring Deleted Names

Each Registry Agreement requires ICANN's consent for fees for new registry services. Under this proposal, registries may be permitted to charge (in addition to ordinary charges for registration term extensions) a cost-based fee as mutually agreed between each registry and ICANN for “restoring” names (including costs related to compliance with, and monitoring of, the transparency requirements outlined above).

Inter-registrar Transfer During the Delete Pending Period

The Technical Steering Group determined that it would not be practical to implement inter-registrar transfers of deleted names in Stage 1. Instead, it is proposed that six months after this Redemption Grace Period Proposal is adopted, ICANN's President should re-convene this (or a similar) Technical Steering Group to review the implementation of the Redemption Grace Period, to suggest possible improvements to the Redemption Grace Period, and to develop a specification for Stage 2 of the implementation of the Redemption Grace Period, which will enable registrants to choose the “restoring” registrar.'

'Although this Technical Steering Group recognizes that it would be desirable to allow registrants to be able to choose to restore their names through a registrar other than the one that deleted their registration, it is more important to quickly implement a functioning Redemption Grace Period “safety net.” Allowing registrants to choose the redeeming registrar will introduce numerous technical and operational complications into the system. The Technical Steering Group unanimously agreed that the best course of action would be to reserve implementation of registrar choice until a second stage.

Technical Steering Group Members

The following technical personnel from registrars and registry operators have volunteered their time as members of the Technical Steering Group:

  • Jordyn Buchanan (Register.com)
  • Hong Liu (NeuLevel)
  • Steve Mahlstedt (VeriSign Global Registry Services)
  • Ram Mohan (Afilias)
  • Bruce Tonkin (Melbourne IT)
  • Rick Wesson (Alice's Registry)

The Technical Steering Group and ICANN invite community comment and discussion of this proposal. Questions and comments can be e-mailed to <redeem-comment@icann.org>.

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