ICANN proposes grace period for expired domain names


The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has proposed a 30-day grace period for expired domain names to address the problems faced by those that lose their domain names unintentionally.

The most common reason for unintentional loss of a domain name is that the owner forgets to renew it, often because a renewal notice is overlooked or not received. However, names are also lost because of errors on the part of registrars and domain name hijacking. Domain name hijacking occurs when a hijacker accesses the name owner's account at a registrar, modifies the contact information, requests a transfer of the registration to another registrar, and then asks the first registrar to delete the registration.

Under the current system, deleted names are available for immediate re-registration or, in some cases, after a five-day holding period. Under ICANN's proposed new programme, the grace period will allow for the detection and correction of any mistaken deletions.

ICANN has faced some criticism for its proposal. Two large internet addressing companies have questioned the practicality and timing of the proposal, which could be established at some point this month. Defending itself, ICANN has issued a supplemental paper, which clarifies that the 30-day grace period would not replace existing mechanisms that domain name retailers use to warn their customers that their addresses may be expiring.

Jon Fell, Masons, London

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