Latest news of the domain name industry

Recent Posts

ICANN declares coronavirus a “natural disaster” to protect expired domains

Kevin Murphy, April 9, 2020, 12:18:55 (UTC), Domain Registrars

Registrants unable to renew their domain names when they expire may not lose them, following a decree from ICANN today.

The organization has declared the coronavirus a “natural disaster” and invoked part of the Registrar Accreditation Agreement that permits registrars to keep hold of domains that have come to the end of their post-expiration renewal period.

Under the RAA, registrars have to delete domains a maximum of 45 days after the reg period expires, unless there are “extenuating circumstances” such as an ongoing UDRP case, lawsuit or technical stability dangers.

There’s no accounting for natural disasters in the contract, but ICANN has the discretion to name any “other circumstance as approved specifically by ICANN” an extenuating circumstance. That’s what it’s done here.

It’s invoked this provision once before, following Hurricane Maria in late 2017.

ICANN said that policies to specifically protect domains in the event of natural disasters should be considered.

The new coronavirus exception applies to all registrars in all gTLDs, although implementation will vary by registrar.

The announcement follows Verisign’s announcement last week that it is waiving its registry-level restore fee for .com and .net domains until June 1.

Tagged: , , , , , ,

Comments (3)

  1. Observer says:

    This provision doesn’t make sense since it get’s in the way of people who may have lost their job and need to start a new business and need to register an abandoned domain.

    If the domain is locked up, then this hurts the whole DNS ecosystem.

    So does this mean that we can stop paying renewal fees and still keep our site online?

  2. page howe says:

    hmm im not sure the harm to a possible potential new owner will compare to the loss of long time names to current owners…

    ive suggested we delay all expired auctions. as long as it “varies by registrar” its a false promise as names for Covid patients, caregivers and those shut out of going to work, or laid off, can be auctioned and never make it to the redemption program.

    Page Howe

    • Observer says:

      So you’re saying that someone who is now working out of their home due to this pandemic situation can’t acquire an expiring domain?

      Does it make sense that all expired domains will now go to a virtual black hole where no one can use it? Clearly, the registrars won’t allow the registrants to use the domains if they don’t pay the renewal, otherwise, there would be no incentive for the registrant to pay renewal fees.

      So the current owner won’t be able to use it until they pay.
      And, simultaneously, someone who wants to register an expired domain will be prevented from doing so.

      Please explain to me how is any of this good for the DNS ecosystem?

Add Your Comment