The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has approved a new Registrar Accreditation Agreement (RAA) after several years of negotiation.  Any registrar that wants to provide registration in a new gTLD is required to sign this 2013 agreement.

Akram Atallah, president of ICANN’s generic domains division, said: “In no small way this agreement is transformational for the domain name industry.

“Our multiple stakeholders weighed in, from law enforcement, to business, to consumers and what we have ended up with is something that affords better protections and positively redefines the domain name industry.”

During a special meeting, the ICANN board discussed the rationale for approving the 2013 RAA including provisions to protect registrants as well as raising the performance requirements for all ICANN-accredited registrars.

The messaging was consistent with ICANN’s Chief Executive Officer Fadi Chehadé’s recent statements on protecting and  championing the interests of registrants and end users.  During his recent keynote address at a meeting of European stakeholders in Brussels, Chehadé emphasized that registrants are ICANN’s customers, not registrars or registries, clearly focusing their efforts to improve the ecosystem for users.

The new RAA also comes with several improvements, with a major one being the establishment of a registrar point-of-contact should any abuse need to be reported.

Clear establishment of registrar responsibility for reseller compliance will be outlined under the new guidelines.

Another big achievement in this new RAA is the enhancement of compliance tools that will now include broader suspension and termination tools, clarification of audit rights, access to information to facilitate ongoing investigations and annual certification requirements.

Furthermore, there will be improved verification and validation of domain registrant data on the WHOIS system.

ICANN Approves 2013 Registrar Accreditation Agreement

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