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New Report Presents Syntax & Operability Accuracy of WHOIS Data in gTLDs

LOS ANGELES – 19 December 2017 – Today, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) published the WHOIS Accuracy Reporting System (ARS) Phase 2 Cycle 5 Report. This is a follow-up to previous ARS Reports which have been published semi-annually since December 2015.

Read the Report.

The report explores both the syntax & operability accuracy of WHOIS records in generic top-level domain names (gTLDs) as compared to the requirements of the 2009 & 2013 Registrar Accreditation Agreements (RAAs). It also examines the leading types of nonconformance, trends, and comparisons of WHOIS accuracy across gTLD types, ICANN regions, & RAA versions.

The ICANN org developed accuracy tests to answer questions about the syntax (format & content) & operability (e.g., does an email sent to the email address provided in the WHOIS record go through?) of a sample of WHOIS records. Then, using statistical methods, syntax & operability accuracy estimates were provided for the population of domain names in gTLDs as a whole, as well as for several subgroups of interest.

Key Findings

The analysis found that:

  • Nearly all WHOIS records contain information that can be used to establish immediate contact: In 98 percent of records, at least one email or cellphone number meets all operability requirements of the 2009 RAA.
  • Approximately 94 percent of email addresses, 67 percent of phone numbers, & 98 percent of postal addresses were operable (see Table 1 below for more information).

Table 1: Overall gTLD Operability Accuracy by Contact Mode (95 percent confidence interval)

  Email Cellphone Postal Address All Three Accurate
All Three Contacts (Registrant, Technical, Administrative) Accurate 93.8% ± 0.4% 66.9% ± 0.8% 98.4% ± 0.3% 63.4% ± 0.9%
  • In terms of syntax accuracy, approximately 99 percent of email addresses, 90 percent of wire numbers, & 89 percent of postal addresses were found to meet all the requirements of the 2009 RAA (see Table 2 below for more information).

Table 2: Overall gTLD Syntax Accuracy to 2009 RAA Requirements by Contact Mode (95 percent confidence interval)

  Email Phone Postal Address All Three Accurate
All Three Contacts (Registrant, Technical, Administrative) Accurate 99.6% ± 0.1% 90.2% ± 0.5% 88.9% ± 0.6% 81.5% ± 0.8%

The report also shows a breakdown of accuracy rates by ICANN region (see Figure 1 below for more information).

Figure 1: Overall gTLD Syntax & Operability Accuracy by ICANN Region

Overall gTLD Syntax & Operability Accuracy by ICANN Region

Next Steps

Results included in the report have been provided to ICANN’s Contractual Compliance team, which will assess the types of errors found & follow up with registrars on potentially inaccurate records. If WHOIS inaccuracy and/or format complaints are created from the WHOIS ARS data, ICANN Contractual Compliance will issue tickets in accordance with the Contractual Compliance Approach & Process [PDF, 292 KB]. Compliance provides updates on a quarterly basis, which include updates on WHOIS ARS tickets & can be found here. In response to ICANN community requests, the ICANN org now publishes additional metrics on the WHOIS ARS Contractual Compliance Metrics page here.

The ICANN org will begin work on the next WHOIS ARS report in January 2018, with a targeted publication date of June 2018.

Learn more:

About ICANN

ICANN’s mission is to help ensure a stable, secure, & unified international Internet. To reach another person on the Internet, you have to type an address into your computer – a name or a number – into your computer or other device. That address must be unique so computers know where to find each other. ICANN helps coordinate and support these unique identifiers across the worldwide. ICANN was formed in 1998 as a not-for-profit public-benefit corporation with a community of participants from all over the intercontinental.

Source: icann.org

Updated: December 19, 2017 — 8:00 am

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