REMINDER: If you change either the first name, last name or email address on one of your domain registrations, you’ll need to verify the new information via email within 15 calendar days or you will be met with a page similar to this one in the below screenshot.
This new policy took effect back in January of 2014 but this is how long it took for me to actually see one of these pages in action; it happened today.
Not paying attention to those email verification notifications can put you out of business – at least temporarily, so you will want to pay much better attention to these notices if you either:
- Change your domains contact details in any way, or
- Transfer a domain name, or
- Register a brand new domain name, or
- For some other reason in which your registrar suspects your contact details are invalid.
ICANN mandates that FAILURE TO REPLY to the email WILL RESULT IN SUSPENSION of the domain name. All applicable domain services WILL DEACTIVATE. This means your website, your email, your DNS services and any and all services tied to that specific domain name could stop working.
This is all regulated through the 2013 Registrar Accreditation Agreement, a contract between ICANN, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers and the registries, those companies participating in the accredited registrar program. The new rules are governed specifically in the section called the Whois Accuracy Program Specifications.
WHOIS ACCURACY PROGRAM SPECIFICATION
Registrar shall implement and comply with the requirements set forth in this Specification, as well as any commercially practical updates to this Specification that are developed by ICANN and the Registrar Stakeholder Group during the Term of the Registrar Accreditation Agreement.
Except as provided for in Section 3 below, within fifteen (15) days of (1) the registration of a Registered Name sponsored by Registrar, (2) the transfer of the sponsorship of a Registered Name to Registrar, or (3) any change in the Registered Name Holder with respect to any Registered Name sponsored by Registrar, Registrar will, with respect to both Whois information and the corresponding customer account holder contact information related to such Registered Name:
- Validate the presence of data for all fields required under Subsection 3.3.1 of the Agreement in a proper format for the applicable country or territory.
- Validate that all email addresses are in the proper format according to RFC 5322 (or its successors).
- Validate that telephone numbers are in the proper format according to the ITU-T E.164 notation for international telephone numbers (or its equivalents or successors).
- Validate that postal addresses are in a proper format for the applicable country or territory as defined in UPU Postal addressing format templates, the S42 address templates (as they may be updated) or other standard formats.
- Validate that all postal address fields are consistent across fields (for example: street exists in city, city exists in state/province, city matches postal code) where such information is technically and commercially feasible for the applicable country or territory.
- Verify: 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
- Verify: 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.
Except as provided in Section 3 below, within fifteen (15) calendar days after receiving any changes to contact information in Whois or the corresponding customer account contact information related to any Registered Name sponsored by Registrar (whether or not Registrar was previously required to perform the validation and verification requirements set forth in this Specification in respect of such Registered Name), Registrar will validate and, to the extent required by Section 1, verify the changed fields in the manner specified in Section 1 above. If Registrar does not receive an affirmative response from the Registered Name Holder providing the required verification, 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.
After your domain name is suspended – how long it takes to get it back online is probably highly dependent on the registrar involved and their DNS structure. Some probably come back up quick while some could take a normal DNS cycle which is about 24 hours. I do not know the exact time it takes for a suspended domain to be returned to service and I hope I do not find out the hard way.
If you are a domain name owner with multiple domains (Domainer) It’s probably a good idea to use your absolute best and most reliable email address across all of your domain names, use two factor authentication and make sure you pay attention to each and every email received in regard to domain names to ensure 1) they are not phishing attempts (widely known problem) and or 2) verification emails.
About The Author: John Colascione is Chief Executive Officer of Searchen Networks Inc. and Internet Advertising Inc. He specializes in Website Monetization, authored a ‘how to’ book called ‘‘Mastering Your Website’, and is a key player in several Internet related businesses through his search engine strategy company Searchen Networks®