The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is a non-profit organization that coordinates unique identifiers used throughout the internet such as the Domain Name System (DNS) and IP addresses. ICANN functions to ensure the stability and security of the internet's systems of unique identifiers and to protect the interests of the global internet community. For more information, visit www.icann.org.
How long does a registration last? Can it be renewed? Each registrar has the flexibility to offer initial and renewal registrations in one-year increments, provided that the maximum remaining unexpired term shall not exceed ten years.
Can I change registrars after registering a domain name? Yes, you may change the registrar sponsoring your domain name (beginning 60 days after initial registration). For details on the transfer process, contact the registrar you would like to assume sponsorship of the registration. Registrar Directory I have seen advertisements for domain-name registration by companies not in the accredited registrar directory. Are these legitimate?
Many companies that are not accredited by ICANN offer domain registration services -- some are reselling names obtained from accredited registrars. ICANN recommends that you deal directly with an accredited registrar.
Someone else has registered my company's name as a domain name. What is the process for resolving my complaint? All ICANN-accredited registrars follow a uniform dispute resolution policy. Under that policy, disputes over entitlement to a domain-name registration are ordinarily resolved by court litigation between the parties claiming rights to the registration. Once the court rules on who is entitled to the registration, the registrar will implement that ruling. In disputes arising from registrations allegedly made abusively (such as "cyber-squatting" and ?cyber-piracy"), the uniform policy provides an expedited administrative procedure to allow the dispute to be resolved without the cost and delays often encountered in court litigation. In these cases, you can invoke the administrative procedure by filing a complaint with one of the dispute-resolution service providers.
If I'm having a problem with my registrar, should I report it to ICANN? If you have a problem with one of the registrars, you should first try to resolve it with that registrar.
If you cannot resolve your complaint with the registrar, you should address it to private-sector agencies involved in addressing customer complaints or governmental consumer-protection agencies. The appropriate agency will vary depending on the jurisdiction of the registrar and the customer.
Although ICANN's limited technical mission does not include resolving individual customer-service complaints, ICANN does monitor such complaints to discern trends. If you would like to submit a complaint about a registrar for ICANN's records, please use the Registrar Problem Report Form located at the InterNIC website. As a courtesy, ICANN will forward your complaint to the registrar for review and further handling. (Please note that there is no guarantee that the registrar will reply.) My registrar won't let me transfer my domain, what do I do? If you're having trouble transferring your domain from one registrar to another, you should contact the registrar you want to transfer to for assistance. If your preferred registrar is having any trouble processing your transfer, your registrar can obtain assistance from ICANN or the registry operator as appropriate.
Registrars are not permitted to deny transfer requests arbitrarily. ICANN has no policy that permits or requires registrars to deny outgoing transfer requests solely because the registration is within X number of days before expiration. In any case where a "losing" registrar does deny a transfer request, it is required to provide the "gaining" registrar with a notice of the denial and a specific reason for the denial.
For your reference, the "Policy on Transfer of Sponsorship of Registrations Between Registrars" is set forth in Exhibit B to the Registry-Registrar Agreement. For details on updates to ICANN's transfer policies, please visit their Web Property here.
I want a domain that has recently expired, but the registrar won't release it. How can I get the name? Section 3.7.5 of the Registrar Accreditation Agreement requires registrars to delete domain registrations after a second notice and a grace period, unless there are "extenuating circumstances." Some examples of such "extenuating circumstances" might include ownership disputes, payment disputes, or lame server delegations. Only the registrar would know exactly why it hasn't yet deleted a particular name. No specific dates or deadlines are prescribed in the current provisions.
ICANN has not yet adopted a uniform policy concerning the handling of expired domain names. If you're interested in helping to craft such a policy, you can learn more about ICANN's bottom-up, consensus-based process for making new policies at ICANN's website.