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23.04.2014 (reply period close)

Draft Implementation Plan for the WHOIS Online Accuracy and Reporting SystemAdopted
12Y, 0N, 0A
Alan Greenberg17.04.201423.04.2014 20:00 UTC24.04.2014 00:00 UTC24.04.2014 00:00 UTC30.04.201401.05.2014 23:59 UTC*23.04.2014 22:00 UTCMargie Milam margie.milam@icann.orgAL-ALAC-ST-0414-04-01-EN

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Comment / Reply Periods (*)
Comment Open Date: 
11 March 2014
Comment Close Date: 
1 April 2014 - 23:59 UTC
Reply Open Date: 
2 April 2014
Reply Close Date: 
23 April 2014 - 23:59 UTC
Important Information Links
Brief Overview
Originating Organization: 
  • Reviews/Improvements
  • Second-Level Domains
  • Transparency/Accountability
  • Whois
Purpose (Brief): 

Draft Implementation Plan for WHOIS Online Accuracy Reporting System

Current Status: 

Proposed Implementation Plan for Community Consideration

Next Steps: 

ICANN plans to release a request for proposal (RFP) after the ICANN Singapore 2014 Meeting to solicit vendor proposals to implement one or more aspects of the proposed model for determining WHOIS accuracy rates. The RFP will be based on the proposed model as described in the Draft Implementation Plan, as it may be updated following consultation with the Community, and consideration of the feedback received through this public comment forum.

Staff Contact: 
Margie Milam
Detailed Information
Section I: Description, Explanation, and Purpose: 

The new WHOIS Online Accuracy Reporting System is a key project linked to ICANN's strategic initiative to improve the overall effectiveness and accuracy of the WHOIS system. In response to the recommendations of the WHOIS Review Team, the system is designed to produce statistical reports on WHOIS accuracy rates. These reports will be made available on the WHOIS website on a periodic basis, providing visibility and transparency into whether accuracy levels are improving over time.

With the help of NORC at the University of Chicago, the pioneer of one of the earliest studies into WHOIS accuracy, ICANN is publishing NORC's suggested model for implementing this statistical analysis. Taking into account recent WHOIS developments, such as the adoption of the new 2013 Registrar Accreditation Agreement(2013 RAA), the model examines a WHOIS record for each of the validation perspectives highlighted in SSAC-58 [PDF, 490 KB], namely, syntactic, operational, and identity validation, and assigns a scoring methodology. These in turn will translate into a finding of accuracy labels, based on range of possibilities, such as: No Failure, Minimal Failure, Limited Failure, Substantial Failure, and Full Failure, which will be reported on a regular basis, and tracked over time. The model also describes a sampling methodology to ensure that a statistically significant number of records are examined to provide adequate geographic scope, and that enable a comparison of accuracy levels associated with new gTLDs and legacy gTLDs, as well as other comparisons.

The Draft Implementation Plan published today describes ICANN's proposed design based on the NORC model for determining how to identify a WHOIS record as "inaccurate" for use in the WHOIS Online Accuracy Reporting System. It also includes additional information on the proposed next steps for developing other aspects of the WHOIS Online Accuracy Reporting System.

Section II: Background: 

On 8 November 2012, the ICANN Board approved a series of improvements to the manner in which ICANNcarries out its responsibilities for WHOIS (the current gTLD registration data directory service), in response to the recommendations of the WHOIS Review Team convened under the Affirmation of Commitments. The Board's mandate calls for ICANN to execute its Action Plan [PDF, 119 KB] for improving WHOIS.

In the Action Plan, ICANN committed to:

  1. proactively identify potentially inaccurate gTLD data registration information in gTLD registry and registrar services, explore using automated tools, and forward potentially inaccurate records to gTLDregistrars for action; and
  2. publicly report on the resulting actions to encourage improved accuracy.

To satisfy these requirements, ICANN has been developing a WHOIS Online Accuracy and Reporting System that will produce reports to be published on the WHOIS website on a periodic basis.

With the help of NORC at the University of Chicago, ICANN is publishing a proposal for examining a WHOIS record and assigning different levels of accuracy for the WHOIS Online Accuracy Reporting System, and includes a methodology for implementing the statistical analysis and reporting features. The NORC proposal is published as an Appendix to the Draft Implementation Plan.

ICANN welcomes comments on the NORC proposed methodology, as well as any other aspect of the Draft Implementation Plan published today.

Section IV: Additional Information: 
  • Board Approved Action Plan [PDF, 119 KB] for Implementing WHOIS Review Team Recommendations
  • Status of the other activities underway to improve WHOIS is available here
  • To learn about WHOIS, please visit the WHOIS website

(*) Comments submitted after the posted Close Date/Time are not guaranteed to be considered in any final summary, analysis, reporting, or decision-making that takes place once this period lapses.