The domain transfer policy hasn’t changed a lot over the last few years but for those that are new to the domain name registration world we will review the domain transfer policy as set forth by ICANN (the International Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers). Prior to 2004 there weren’t really any regulations for how a domain transfer was to take place and many individuals found that the domain transfer was nearly impossible simply because everyone had a different idea about how it should happen and what was required. ICANN saw the need for creating a set of “rules” that would make the process the same for everyone.
While individual domain registrars can still set up their own terms and requirements for transferring a domain name registration to or from their service, there are basic guidelines and a process that they and the registered name holders must follow. Before registering a domain name each individual should find out the registrars policy and procedure for transferring a domain before registering any domain. Some domain name registrars will over very low priced domain name registration to get people to register with them and then make it virtually impossible for them to transfer the domain and charge then double or triple the price or more upon renewal of the domain name registration. Cheaper isn’t always better and often those that shop based solely on the cheapest rate he/she can find is going to be in for some surprises down the road. This doesn’t mean to skip the research and just pick someone middle of the road in terms of pricing. One really has to be diligent and ask about the policies and procedures to make sure that the registrar is the right choice for his specific needs.
So what does the domain transfer policy include? Overall it is really pretty basic. ICANN requires that the registrar a domain is being transferred to meets minimum standards as defined by ICANN and that there be express authorization from the registered name holder of the administrative contact for the domain name. The authorization must be made through one of two Standardized Forms of Authorization (FOA) available from the ICANN website. Of course there is a lot more to the whole process and many other things that can be considered but overall the new domain transfer policy has made the whole process much easier. Some argue that it makes domain hijacking too easy and that people will be at risk of domain fraud, someone stealing a domain and transferring it to a new registrar.
There are several measures put into place to protect users against domain hijacking. Domain locking is one of the most widely used methods. Most domain registrars will provide the domain holder the ability to lock a domain so that it can’t be transferred, the domain can be unlocked at anytime by the domain holder so that is can be transferred at his/her request. Some domain registrars charge extra for this service but many offer it for free. Regardless of the domain registrar or web hosting service you are using, be sure to keep your domain registry contact information up-to-date so that you will be aware of any changes or requests made on behalf of your domain name registrations. The domain transfer policy is meant to set a standard for all three parties involved, the domain holder, original domain registrar and the registrar the domain is being transferred to but if you don’t keep your contact info current, the domain name could be transferred without your knowledge.