ICANN Requiring All gTLD Registries To Comply With Thick WHOIS Registration Data

ICANN logoAll gTLD registries will soon be required to update their registration data directory services to comply with ICANN’s Thick Whois Transition Policy, a policy that already applies to .com, .net and .jobs, as well as the Registry Registration Data Directory Services Consistent Labelling and Display Policy.

The changes come into effect by 1 May 2018 for all new domain name registrations while for all existing registrations, their Whois data must be migrated from Thin to Thick by 1 February 2019.

The difference between Thick and Thin Whois is as follows:

  • A thin registry only stores and manages the information associated with the domain name. This set includes data sufficient to identify the sponsoring registrar, status of the registration, creation and expiration dates for each registration, name server data, the last time the record was updated in its Whois data store, and the URL for the registrar’s Whois service.
  • With thin registries, registrars manage the second set of data associated with the registrant of the domain and provide it via their own Whois services, as required by Section 3.3 of the RAA for those domains they sponsor. COM and NET are examples of thin registries.
  • Thick registries maintain and provide both sets of data (domain name and registrant) via Whois. INFO and BIZ are examples of thick registries.

The changes have come about following a consultation period with the ICANN community, and the final report met with unanimous consensus report while no stakeholder group or constituency raising any opposition or concerns.

The GNSO Working Group investigating the changes published its Initial Report for public comment on 21 June 2013, followed by its Final Report on 21 October 2013, which received the unanimous consensus support from the PDP WG as well as the GNSO Council. A public comment period followed the GNSO Council vote, as specified in the ICANN Bylaws. The comments reflected strong support for the GNSO recommendations, with no opposition or concerns raised by any stakeholder group or constituency. As a result, this issue and the GNSO recommendations are ripe for consideration by the ICANN Board.