ICANN has approved a new version of its standard Registrar Accreditation Agreement, after almost two years of talks with registrars.
The new 2013 RAA will be obligatory for any registrar that wants to sell new gTLD domain names, and may in future become obligatory for .org, .info and .biz.
The new deal’s primary changes include obligations for registrars to verify email addresses supplied for Whois records as well as stronger oversight on proxy/privacy services and resellers.
Akram Atallah, president of ICANN’s new Generic Domains Division said in a statement:
In no small way this agreement is transformational for the domain name industry. Our multiple stakeholders weighed in, from law enforcement, to business, to consumers and what we have ended up with is something that affords better protections and positively redefines the domain name industry.
Registrars Stakeholder Group chair Michele Neylon told DI:
The 2013 RAA does include lot of changes that will be welcomed by the broad community. It addresses the concerns of the Governmental Advisory Committee, it addresses the concerns of law enforcement, it addresses the concerns of IP rights advocates, end user consumer groups and many others.
But Neylon warned that ICANN will need “proactive outreach” to registrars, particularly those that do not regularly participate in the ICANN community or do not have English as their first language.
The new RAA puts a lot of new obligations on registrars that they all need to be fully aware of, he said.
“The unfortunate reality is that a lot of companies may sign contracts without being aware of what they’re agreeing to,” Neylon said. “The entire exercise could be seen as a failure if the outliers — registrars not actively engaged in the ICANN process or whose first language is not English — are not communicated with.”
A new RAA was also considered a gateway event for the launch of new gTLDs, so applicants have a reason to be cheerful today.