New ICANN Regulations Require Domains to be Verified by Email or Phone

If you buy a domain name in the future, you will be required to verify ownership through receipt of a PIN number or unique code by email or by phone–or the newly registered domain name will be suspended by the registrar. Newly ICANN regulations, approved by the ICANN board on June 27, 2013, include these new requirements: and registrars must comply or face suspension themselves.

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In the new ICANN agreement, the WHOIS Accuracy Program Specification has been updated. Not only are registrars required to verify the whois data, section 1 (f) outlines the new requirements for email or phone verification:

Verify:
i. the email address of the Registered Name Holder (and, if different, the Account Holder) by sending an email requiring an affirmative response through a tool-based authentication method such as providing a unique code that must be returned in a manner designated by the Registrar, or

ii. the telephone number of the Registered Name Holder (and, if different, the Account Holder) by either (A) calling or sending an SMS to the Registered Name Holder’s telephone number providing a unique code that must be returned in a manner designated by the Registrar, or (B) calling the Registered Name Holder’s telephone number and requiring the Registered Name Holder to provide a unique code that was sent to the Registered Name Holder via web, email or postal mail.

In either case, if Registrar does not receive an affirmative response from the Registered Name Holder, Registrar shall either verify the applicable contact information manually or suspend the registration, until such time as Registrar has verified the applicable contact information. If Registrar does not receive an affirmative response from the Account Holder), Registrar shall verify the applicable contact information manually, but is not required to suspend any registration.

When you buy a new domain name, the registrar will be required to send you a unique code that you will then need to verify. Usually, this will mean that you have to check your email for the code and enter it on the registrar’s website or you’ll receive a text message with the unique code–or the registrar can call you on the phone with the unique code.

This new policy is not really unexpected. In fact, in the online world, it’s nothing new. When you set up a new Google Account, Yahoo! Email address, or other types of online accounts, you’re required to verify the request via a unique code. I don’t think it’s going to be a huge annoying big deal for most users–I think they’ll expect it. But, it might become something different if you register hundreds of domain names at the same time. Verification of a bunch of domain names, via email or otherwise, could be interesting.