New Domain Expiry Policy To Launch By August 2013

expiredA new domain expiry policy is coming up courtesy of ICANN. Until otherwise, the upcoming Expired Registration Recovery Policy (ERRP) takes effect on August 31, 2013.

In spite of best practices, many people still inadvertently let their domain names expire – to the point that they permanently lose them. The upcoming ERRP puts in writing how domain registrars will handle them moving forward.

You can read the policy in its entirety here. I’ll try to accurately summarize and highlight some important points, though.

Section two of ERRP deals with the domain expiry phase itself. The first part says that registrars must send at least three renewal notices: the first at least one month before expiration, the second at least one week prior, and the third at least five days after that.

The above shouldn’t be a problem because many registrars do them, anyway. Some send so many notices prior, to the point of…well…pissing off some customers even.

While the second part of section two states that registrars may delete domain names anytime after expiry, many of them still give as much “grace period” (up to 45 days) as they can afford. It also says that whether or not a domain name is deleted within eight days after expiration, its DNS is stopped after that eight-day mark.

By stopping the domain name’s DNS by that time, its website, email, or any online service attached to it stops working as well. Although that can be upsetting, it’s a surefire way of getting one’s attention to do something – and fast.

Meanwhile, section three of ERRP is a new one by (finally) requiring registrars to offer 30-day redemption grace period (RGP) after an expired domain name is deleted. Although RGP typically costs more than renewing, at least registrants (or ex-domain owners) have one last shot at getting their domain names back before anyone else grabs them.

Section four requires registrars to post notices of their expiration and RGP processes and fees with clear explanations for each of them. A new thing here is that registrars must also ensure that their resellers make these same policies and fees clear and visible online.

Many registrars, especially the bigger ones like Go Daddy, eNom, and Network Solutions, already post notices of such. I sure hope they’ll indeed take action towards their own resellers to do the same.

The remainder of ERRP establishes best practices among registrars on expired domain names and time frames for coming into compliance by, again, August 31, 2013. Incidentally many registrars are doing many of the things above, but it’s still good to essentially set everything in stone so that everyone’s on the same page.

So I guess a question is:

Will this indeed benefit domain registrants like you and me?

Personally, I think it does but only up to a point. In my ex-registrar life, I’ve handled numerous calls, emails, and tickets where customers still let their domain names expire or fall into RGP in spite of multiple notification.

Realistically, ERRP won’t address everything. It doesn’t stop registrars from auctioning off (if ever) expired domain names before letting them go into redemption period onwards, nor does it require them to – say – call registrants before and after expiration.

At the end of the day, all this boils down to one thing I’ve always believed is the best way: to stay on top of your domain names as much as you can. Mark your calendars when your domain name/s will expire, renew for a longer period if you intend to keep it for the long term, whatever it takes to ensure that your domain name/s never expire at all.

(For those who just came in: ICANN is the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers that usually sets policies how domain names are handled. For RGP, you can learn more by checking the domain name’s “life cycle” here.)

As always, feel free to share your thoughts below or spread the word online. I’ll just be around.

Source/s: ICANN, Stuart Miles

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