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Three more registrars get breach notices

ICANN has told three registrars that they’re in breach of their contracts and risk losing their accreditations.

Two of the companies in receipt of breach notices this week — Internet Solutions and DomainSnap — have no gTLD domains under management, but the other, Aregentinian registrar Dattatec, has over 90,000, making it the 112th-largest registrar.

The former two have simply not paid their fees, according to ICANN.

Dattatec, meanwhile, also stands accused of not adequately responding to Whois accuracy complaints on a handful of distinctly spammy-looking domain names in its care.

All three have been given until almost the end of the month to sort out the problems or face the possibility of termination.

Deadbeat registrar is also a massive new gTLD applicant

Kevin Murphy, April 24, 2013, Domain Registrars

One of the latest three registrars to receive ICANN contract breach notices is also a new gTLD applicant involved in four applications, a helpful reader has pointed out.

A. Telecom S.A., which owes ICANN $10,863.67 in unpaid accreditation fees and is facing a May 14 de-accreditation if it doesn’t pay up, doesn’t have any gTLD domains under management.

It is, however, part of the Brazilian wing of Telefonica, the Spanish telecommunications giant.

Telefonica Brasil SA has applied for .vivo while the corporate parent Telefonica SA is behind applications for .movistar, .telefonica and .terra. They’re all single-registrant dot-brand applications.

Telefonica had revenue of about $80 billion last year, and employs over 280,000 people, so I doubt a measly $10,000 would even cover its daily toilet paper bill.

I can only assume that its ICANN breach notice is a result of a paperwork problem.

Three registrars rapped for not paying ICANN fees

Kevin Murphy, April 24, 2013, Domain Registrars

ICANN has sent compliance notices to three registrars for allegedly not paying their dues.

Dotted Ventures, Basic Fusion and A. Telecom S.A owe a total of roughly $25,000 in unpaid ICANN fees, according to the notices.

Basic Fusion and A Telecom also didn’t notify ICANN about changes of address, according to the notices.

All three have until May 14 to pay up or risk losing their registrar accreditation.

None of them are of notable size in the gTLD space, with fewer than 1,000 domains under management between them.

ICANN terminates three registrars

Kevin Murphy, February 12, 2013, Domain Registrars

ICANN has pulled the plug on three accredited domain name registrars, saying they all failed to comply with an audit.

Lime Labs, R Lee Chambers Company (DomainsToBeSeen.com) and Central Registrar (Domainmonger.com) have been given 30 days notice that their accreditations are being yanked and that their domains will be transferred to other registrars.

About 12,000 domains will be affected, the vast majority of which are managed by Lime Labs.

The three registrars were among 10 that ICANN pounced on last month when they failed to respond to its Contractual Compliance Audit Program.

This program is a three-year initiative to make sure registrars and registries are complying with their contractual requirements. A third of registrars were randomly selected to take part late last year.

According to ICANN’s termination notices, all three registrars ignored last month’s warnings and did not submit the data required for the audit.

DomainsToBeSeen and Domainmonger both have just a few hundred gTLD domain names under management each. Lime Labs is much larger, with over 11,000.

The terminations will come into affect March 13.

Ten registrars spanked for ignoring ICANN audit

Kevin Murphy, January 14, 2013, Domain Registrars

ICANN has sent breach notices to 10 domain name registrars for failing to respond to its ongoing contract compliance audit.

The 10 registrars with breach notices are: Crosscert, Mat Bao, DomainsToBeSeen.com, USA Webhost, Internet NAYANA Inc, Cheapies.com, Domainmonger.com, Lime Labs, Namevault.com, and Power Brand Center.

According to ICANN, these registrars failed to provide the requested documentation as required by their Registrar Accreditation Agreement.

The Contractual Compliance Audit Program is a proactive three-year effort to check that all registries and registrars are abiding by the terms of their agreements.

ICANN selected 317 registrars at random for the first year of the program. As of January 4, 22 had not responded to these notices.

Only registrars signed up to the 2009 version of the RAA are contractually obliged to respond.

Verisign, which was one of six gTLD registries selected to participate this year, has controversially refused to let ICANN audit .net, saying it is not obliged to do so.

While the .net contract does have some audit requirements, we understand they’re not as wide-ranging as ICANN’s audit envisages.

The 10 registrars have been given until February 1 to provide ICANN with the necessary information or risk losing their accreditations.

In major snub, Verisign refuses to let ICANN audit .net

Kevin Murphy, January 11, 2013, Domain Registries

Verisign has delivered a significant blow to ICANN’s authority by refusing to take part in its contractual compliance audit program.

The snub runs a risk of scuppering ICANN’s plans to make compliance a cornerstone of its new management’s strategy.

In a letter to ICANN’s compliance department this week, Verisign senior vice president Pat Kane said that the company has no obligation to submit to an audit of .net under its ICANN contract.

Kane wrote:

Verisign has no contractual obligations under its .net Registry Agreement with ICANN to comply with the proposed audit. Absent such express contractual obligations, Verisign will not submit itself to an audit by or at the direction of ICANN of its books and records.

The company is basically refusing to take part in ICANN’s Contractual Compliance Audit Program, a proactive three-year plan to make sure all gTLD registries and accredited registrars are sticking to their contracts.

For registries, the plan calls for ICANN to look at things like compliance with Whois, zone file access, data escrow, monthly reporting, and other policies outlined in the registry agreements.

Verisign isn’t necessarily admitting that it thinks it would not pass the .net audit, but it is sending a strong signal that it believes ICANN’s authority over it has limits.

In the program’s FAQ, ICANN admits that it does not have explicit audit rights over all contracted parties, stating:

What’s the basis for including all contracted parties, when the ‘Right to Audit’ clause isn’t present in 2001 RAA and Registry Agreements?

One of ICANN’s responsibilities is to conduct audits of its agreements in order to ensure that all contracted parties are in compliance with those agreements.

If Verisign is refusing to participate, other registries may decide they don’t want to cooperate either. That wouldn’t look good for ICANN, which has made compliance a key strategic priority.

When Fadi Chehade started as CEO last September, one of his first moves was to promote compliance boss Maguy Serad to vice president, reporting directly to him.

He told DI that he would be “bringing a lot more weight and a lot more independent management from my office to the compliance function”.

At his inaugural address to the community in Prague last June, he spoke of how he planned to bring IBM-style contract management prowess to ICANN.

Compliance is also a frequently raised concern of the Governmental Advisory Committee (though generally geared toward rogue registrars rather than registries).

Vietnamese registrar on the ICANN naughty step

Kevin Murphy, December 26, 2012, Domain Registrars

ICANN has issued a broad breach notice against Vietnamese domain name registrar Mat Bao.

The company hasn’t escrowed its registrant data as required since February, according to ICANN, and it owes over $4,500 in accreditation fees.

It also hasn’t given ICANN a URL for its registrar web site, nor is it providing Whois service, according to the breach notice.

The registrar has fewer than 1,000 gTLD domain names under management, according to the latest registry reports.

ICANN has given it until January 17 to resolve its problems or risk losing its accreditation.

Delinquent top 20 registrar not delinquent after all

Kevin Murphy, August 27, 2012, Domain Registrars

China’s largest domain name registrar isn’t shirking its ICANN fees, despite previous allegations to the contrary.

Xin Net, which has over 1.6 million gTLD domains under management, received a breach notice from ICANN last month which stated that the company was $2,000 in arrears with its payments.

The company was given until August 22 to correct the problem or risk losing its accreditation.

But in a subsequent compliance notice ICANN admitted that “due to an error the registrar’s account reflected a delinquent balance”.

The admission was buried deep in the notice and not immediately obvious to anyone browsing ICANN’s compliance pages.

The original notice also alleged a breach of the Inter-Registrar Transfer Policy with respect to the domain names rongzhu.net, qsns.net and zuixincn.com, which was not an error.

ICANN posts breach notices to its web site fairly regularly — 84 of them since mid-2008 — and more often than not they allege failure to pay fees in addition to other problems.

Tiny Russian registrar gets canned

Kevin Murphy, August 8, 2012, Domain Registrars

ICANN is to terminate a Russian registrar’s accreditation.

Name For Name Inc, which was given a breach notice last month, is being shut down for basically failing to act as a registrar.

Verisign had already cut off its .com/.net registrar contract and the company was not managing names, providing Whois, or doing any of the other things registrars are supposed to.

Under normal circumstances, a termination sees a mass transfer of all the domains under management to a nominated registrar, but in Name For Name’s case I can’t see that happening.

The company only had five gTLD domain names under management, according to the latest count.

Its accreditation will be terminated September 6.

ICANN also this week issued a breach notice to Visesh Infotecnics (Signdomains.com), apparently as the result of a badly handled domain name hijacking.

Five registrars on the ICANN naughty step

Kevin Murphy, April 28, 2012, Domain Registrars

ICANN has sent breach notices to five domain name registrars, including two owned by Epik and DomainTools, for failing to cooperate with a Whois accuracy audit.

InTrust Domains, Planet Online, Server Plan, Infocom Network and DomainAllies.com did not respond to ICANN’s 2011 Whois Data Reminder Policy audit, according to ICANN.

The WDRP is the longstanding policy that requires all ICANN-accredited registrars to remind their customers to keep their Whois records up to date once a year.

The annual WDRP audit asks registrars to state how many reminders they sent out and how many Whois records were updated as a result, among other things.

The non-compliant registrars, with the exception of Server Plan, are also evidently past due paying their ICANN accreditation fees, according to the breach notices.

All five registrars have been given 15 days to rectify the problems or risk losing their accreditations.

Given that the audit is, I believe, a simple web-based form, I don’t think anyone is going to go out of business as a result of these breaches.

It’s interesting to dig a little bit into who owns these registrars.

DomainAllies.com belongs to DomainTools parent Thought Convergence.

InTrust, which has come in for criticism for shady marketing practices under its previous management, was acquired by Epik last July.

Planet Online, meanwhile, is one of those odd registrars that hides its own contact information behind a Whois privacy service (though its web site does carry a physical address).