What is ICANN?

ICANN is the acronym by which the International Organization for Assigned Names and Numbers is known. ICANN is a non-profit organization with the domain name www.icann.org. Its mission is focused on the regulation of the commerce involving domain, the purchase and sale of domain names, and the integrity of the Internet domain name system. Included in this mandate is the task of accreditation of every business that seeks to become a registrar and have direct access to ICANN-designated TLDs (top-level domains). The ICANN top-level domains are the generic TLDs (gTLDs), including:

• .aero
• .asia
• .biz
• .cat
• .com
• .coop
• .info
•. jobs
• .mobi
• .museum
• .name
• .net
• .org
• .pro
• .travel

ICANN-Accredited registrars may also be accredited by one or more countries or dependent territories to register country code top-level domains (CTLDs).

The Accreditation Process

If you are interested in becoming an ICANN-Accredited Registrar, this is what you need to do.

1. Fine a registrar application with the non-refundable application fee of $2500 USD.
2. Supporting documents including a current certificate of insurance and an independently-verified statement of finances, and possibly the most recent annual report, evidence of working capital such as the most recent audited fiscal period statement,
3. Agree to the Registrar Accreditation Agreement (http://www.icann.org/registrars/ra-agreement-17may01.htm)
4. Agree to have ICANN use your company’s name and/or logo.

Finding an ICANN-Accredited Registrar

Locating an ICANN-Accredited Registrar is as easy as going to this ICANN-maintained list: http://www.icann.org/registrars/accredited-list.html The list shows you which particular gTLDs the registrar is able to register, as well as the country in which the registrar is located. The list is linked to the registrars’ sites, so clicking on any name will take you directly to the registrar’s homepage.

It is important to know that not every registrar sells and buys individual domain names itself. Take Tucows, Inc., for example. They are listed on the ICANN-Accredited Registrar page as an accredited registrar in Canada that can work with the TLDs .asia, .biz, .com, .info, mobi, .name, .net, .org, and .pro. But if you click on the link, there is no obvious place on the site to buy or sell domains—in fact, the business seems centered on software applications. Why?

Tucows, Inc. is a wholesale registrar. This means that they do not deal with individual domains, although their systems are used to process domain transactions and to provide registrations for the general public. The actual registration is done by registration service providers (RSPs) in Tucows’ network of over 5,000 international resellers.

Reporting an ICANN-Accredited Registrar

ICANN’s specified role means that if you should ever encounter a problem with an ICANN-Accredited Registrar, ICANN is the organization you want to get in touch with to report the incident. Complaints can be submitted through the complaint form and should include your name, organization if you have one, your e-mail address, and optionally, your phone number. You should also include the domain name(s) involved as well as the name of the registrar, and you should include a short description laying out your problem or issue.