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Inter-Registrar Transfers Policy Information

Last Updated 5 November 2003

The new transfer policy is intended to provide a procedure for the smooth transition of a domain name from one registrar to another when such a change is requested by the domain name holder. The Transfer Task Force Group has developed 29 policy recommendations for guiding such transfers. The Transfer Assistance Group (TAG) along with ICANN Staff, is currently in the process of implementing the new transfer procedures, based on the 29 policy recommendations, approved by the ICANN Board.


The shared registry system implemented for the .com, .net, and .org top-level domains (TLDs) in 1999 (and extended to the other new TLDs as they were introduced in 2001) creates a competitive environment among accredited registrars. To permit effective competition, registrants not only may choose among registrars at the time of their initial registration, but also may choose to transfer their registrations between registrars during the term of their registration.

For the unsponsored gTLDs (.biz, .com, .info, .name, .net, .org, and .pro), the procedure for transfers of registrations between registrars is described in each registrar's agreement with each registry operator. The procedure is essentially the same in all unsponsored TLDs. For sponsored TLDs (.aero, .coop, and .museum), the procedure for transfers between registrars are set by the top-level domain's sponsor.

When several members of the community expressed concerns regarding the current procedure for transfer of domain names between registrars, the GNSO Transfer Task Force Group was formed.

At its meeting on 20 February 2003, the GNSO Council voted unanimously to accept the Final Report of the GNSO Transfers Task Force and to forward it to the ICANN Board as a consensus-policy recommendation. That report included 29 specific policy recommendations with direction that the new transfer procedure must comply with those recommendations. The final report can be found here.

It was resolved at the ICANN Board meeting 25 April 2003 that the Board adopts the recommendations from the GNSO Transfer Task Force Group, and further that the President and General Counsel are authorized to ensure implementation of the new procedures contained in the 29 policy recommendations. The implementation was requested to be performed with guidance from relevant knowledgeable parties and to be pursuant to ICANN's agreements with registries and registrars.

Formation of Transfers Assistance Group

In order to adopt the findings of the GNSO report, ICANN Staff formed the Transfer Assistance Group (TAG) in July 2003 in consultation with the Registry and Registrars Constituencies, the GNSO Transfers Task Force Group, and the ALAC. Each of these groups returned nominees and the group first met in August 2003.

The members of the TAG are charged with the implementation of the new transfer policy. The TAG's scope is limited to the findings of the GNSO report of the 29 policy recommendations therein.

Hence, this group is not charged with undertaking any outreach or consensus development itself; its only charge is to provide, from its members as a group, input and assistance in implementing these policy recommendations.

Members of the Transfers Assistance Group

The Transfer Assistance group members are:

  • Bruce Tonkin - Melbourne IT
  • Chuck Gomes - Verisign Registry
  • Elana Broitman -
  • Grant Forsyth - TelstraClear
  • Jeff Neuman - NeuLevel
  • Paul Westley - Internetters
  • Ross Rader - Tucows
  • Sebastian Riccardi - ALAC member
  • Thomas Roessler - ALAC member

For comment to the TAG group please email ICANN's Chief Registry Liaison, Tina Dam at <>.

Status of the New Transfer Procedures

12 February 2003: The GNSO Transfer Task Force Group finalized their recommendation in a Final Report on Gaining and Losing Registrars to the GNSO Council. (The 29 policy recommendations).

20 February 2003: the GNSO Council voted unanimously to accept the GNSO Transfer Task Force Report. The report was then forwarded to ICANN's Board for further action and approval.

25 April 2003: the ICANN Board adopted the 29 policy recommendations, and further the President and General Counsel of ICANN were authorized to implement the policy recommendations, by consulting with knowledgeable parties.

July 2003: In consulting with such parties ICANN staff formed the TAG group.

To date the TAG has met four times, most recently at the ICANN conference in Carthage. During these meetings the 29 policy recommendations have been divided into subgroups according to the categories listed below.

  1. Registrar Accreditation Agreement
  2. Standardized Form of Authorization
  3. Dispute Resolution Policy
  4. Registry-Registrar Agreement
  5. Timeline for completing transfers
  6. Advisories to registries and registrars regarding new policies

To date categories 1, 2 and 5 have been finalized on a preliminary basis. The categories are not viewed as finalized until all 29 policy recommendations have been included in one of these, or in a new established category.

All categories are being discussed by ALAC, and on Registry and Registrar Constituency mailing lists, and the new policy procedures will be released simultaneously to provide a complete overview of the requirements to Registries and Registrars. Once the new procedures are released Registrars and Registries will be presented with a timeline for the implementation of the new transfer procedure.

Further, once the new transfer procedures are in place, the implementation and execution of the procedures will be monitored by the GNSO. More specifically, the policy recommendations require the ICANN Staff to analyze and report to the GNSO at three, six and twelve month intervals after implementation of the procedure with the goal of determining various effects of the new procedures.

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