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ICANN's First Official Report on Whois Data Problems

ICANN has submitted the first report [PDF] of what will be a series of annual reports summarizing its "expierince" with the Whois Data problems and inaccuracies. While emphasizing that "ICANN-accredited registrars are obligated by the terms of their accreditation agreements to investigate and correct any reported inaccuracies," the report provides the following conclusions:

- Over the course of the eighteen-month reporting period (Sep-02 through Feb-04), the system received 24,148 confirmed Whois inaccuracy reports.

- 82% of the reports concerned domain registrations in .com, and .net and .org accounted for 13% and 5% of all reports respectively. An enhanced version of the system has recently been launched that will include not just the legacy gTLDs, but all gTLDs under contract to ICANN: .aero, .biz, .com, .coop, .info, .museum, .name, .net, .org, and .pro.

- More than 40% of all the reports (9,938 out of 24,148) were submitted by just 0.3% of reporters (20 individuals out of 5,755 reporters). Over 20% of the reports had text fields that included the word "spam".

- The number of complaints sent to each registrar was generally proportional to each registrar's relative market share.

- On average, registrars were each sent approximately 0.00048 Whois inaccuracy reports per active registration per year, which equates to an average of 4.8 reports per year for every 10,000 domains under management.

Beginning on 31 October 2003, all ICANN-accredited registrars were obligated to comply with the new "Whois Data Reminder Policy." The WDRP is intended to be an additional step to improve Whois data accuracy. Experiences with the implementation of that new policy will be subject of an ICANN report to be published by 30 November 2004.

In ICANN's planning for Fiscal Year 2004-05, there is provision for additional dedicated staff resources to monitor the Whois Data Problem Report System, to obtain accurate and useful statistical data, and to monitor registrar and registry compliance with Whois service, privacy and accuracy obligations.

ICANN has submitted this report as part of its agreement with the Department of Commerce to be submitted by the end of March 2004 and annually thereafter.

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Re: ICANN's First Official Report on Whois Data Problems Konstantinos Komaitis  –  Apr 05, 2004 1:44 AM PDT

At least ICANN is realising the problem and finally does something about it. Even though I believe that this action will not really fight the problem of the WHOIS database in its source, I hope to see the inaccuracies being minimised as much as possible. However, my greatest surprise will be to see how the UDRP panellists will now treat those registrants that have provided false WHOIS information. Will it still be an indication of bad faith? Now that registrars will have the obligation to make sure that the information provided is accurate, one would think that this interpretation of bad faith should collapse. We just have to wait and see....time will tell.

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