Domain Transfer Policy

Better prices, features, or switching to a new web host may have introduced you to the domain transfer process. The universal Internet pain in the drain. ICANN (the International Corporation for Assigned Name and Numbers) recently (11/04) announced a new and improved system of transferring domain names from registrar to registrar. The new policy is aimed at speeding up the domain transfer process and easing the domain transfer process for registrars. Some debate that this new domain transfer policy puts users at risk for domain hijacking. Read on for details that effect you in the new domain transfer policy.

Domain Transfer Before
Previously, the domain transfer policy took longer than necessary and the forms and communication between registrars to accomplish the task was a headache. There was no uniform system and domains would get stuck in limbo for months leaving users hanging as their domain registration was disputed and awkwardly passed from one DNS to another.

Domain Transfer Under the New Policy
ICANN, the corporation in charge of domain registrations, issued a new policy to make domain transfers easier for registrars to perform. Two main changes that have the greatest effect include the uniform application and default transfer.

One Form Domain Transfer
ICANN issued a uniform form for submitting a transfer request which streamlines the application process. Registrars are pleased to be able to communicate better with their fellow registrars during a domain transfer through a universal form.

Default Domain Transfer
When a domain transfer is requested by the user the old registrar, the new registrar and the user are all notified and must agree to the transfer. The user is notified by way of their contact address in the registry. The most influential (and hotly debated) change in the domain transfer system refers to the communication of these three parties in a domain transfer. Under the old system if a domain registrant didn’t reply to the email request that their domain be transferred, the domain transfer was aborted. If the users’ contact information was outdated the transfer wouldn’t take place, even if the user requested the domain transfer. The old method created countless domain disputes and miscommunications. ICANN’s new policy is that the a requested domain transfer may take place after five days even if the user doesn’t confirm the transfer.

Users at Risk of Domain Hijack
Some worry that domains will be easier to hijack under this new policy, allowing shifty domain registrars to send unrequested domain transfer requests to snitch domains from other registrars. While this is possible experts believe the benefit will be greater than the risks and they have further safeguarded users against hijacks by requiring that all registrars have an available domain lock and unlock feature that prevents a domain transfer. If a domain is locked it cannot be transferred. ICANN has mandated that registrars make domain lock and unlock features easy for registrants to access. Also, if domain registrants keep their registry contact information current there will be no domain transfers made without their knowledge.

The next time you have to transfer your domain name to a new host you’ll appreciate ICANN’s new policy. Just remember to keep your registry contact info current and to lock your domain name if you don’t want to transfer your domain any time soon.

GoDaddy offers free domain locking with registration.