I was at the most recent ICANN meeting in Lisbon a couple of weeks ago.
ICANN, if you aren’t familiar with it, is the organisation that is charged with looking after domain names among other things. It mainly deals with what are called global Top Level Domains, such as .com,.net etc., but also has some influence over country code domains, such as .ie (Ireland).
One of the hot topics at the last meeting was the fallout from the RegisterFly fiasco.
Registerfly was a domain name registrar ie. a company that sells domain names to individuals and companies. Unfortunately the company ran into issues and has all but ceased trading, which has led to issues for its clients – the domain holders.
While both ICANN and a number of the registrars are working to help former clients of RegisterFly hold onto their domain names a number of issues have arisen. How do people prove they own their domain name?
A simple answer would be via whois, however a large proportion of people do not keep their details up to date. The most important bit of information people forget to update is their email address. An inaccurate email address can lead to the complete loss of a domain name.
Another issue is with whois privacy services.
A lot of people use 3rd party services to obfuscate the domain owner data. In some cases this is for genuine privacy concerns, whereas in others the motives may not be so honourable. Be that as it may this means that the domain(s) appear to be registered to a 3rd party. If, as in the case of RegisterFly, the 3rd party gets into financial issues, then there is a high risk that the domain data maybe lost.
The fallout of the RegisterFly implosion maybe the introduction of greater levels of service as standard by a lot of the ICANN registrars.
In the meantime, however, you should take the time to ensure that you know the following:
- Which domains you own
- Where they are registered ie. which registrar or company
- Check that the domain details are accurate and up to date
- Check the expiry dates
- Ensure that the email addresses are up to date
It only takes a few minutes to check up on your domain names and it can save you a lot of hassle in the long run.