AFNIC launches tool to help contact anonymous registrants


AFNIC (the registry responsible for running the '.fr' country-code top-level domain - ccTLD), has launched an online tool that allows those who wish to contact an anonymous registrant to send an email to the administrative contact. Individuals, who have been allowed to register '.fr' domain names since June 20 2006, may choose to hide their personal details, unlike companies; however, they must supply full details to AFNIC upon registration.

Since June 20 2006, any adult with a French postal address has been able to register a domain name under the '.fr' ccTLD. Previously, '.fr' was one of the most restrictive ccTLDs in Europe, only open to:

  • French companies or foreign companies having a local presence in France (evidenced by a company registration number);

  • any company or individual owning any registered or pending French trademark, any registered Community trademark or any registered international trademark covering at least France; or

  • anyone listed in the database of the French national institute in charge of statistics and economic studies, such as self employed workers and associations.

The opening of the '.fr' ccTLD to individuals has been a great success; on November 15 2006 AFNIC announced that the number of '.fr' domain names registered by individuals had risen to over 100,000 and almost 50% of '.fr' registrations are now made by individuals.

However, as individuals may choose to hide their personal details, AFNIC has now made available an online tool that enables those who wish to contact these anonymous individual registrants to do so. In effect, the tool just transfers the email automatically to the email address supplied to AFNIC, without revealing any personal details.

AFNIC has made it clear that it can in no way be responsible for the content of any messages and cannot guarantee that the administrative contact will open them or indeed respond. Should there be no response, AFNIC will reveal personal details to a third party only upon presentation of a court order or the filing of an alternative dispute resolution complaint, in accordance with Article 30 of its charter, which relates to personal data.

David Taylor and Jane Seager, Lovells, Paris

Unlock unlimited access to all WTR content