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Concerns Expressed Regarding Domain Name Resellers

June 26, 2012

An ICANN session involving the Governmental Advisory Council (GAC) has revealed some concerns the GAC has in regard to domain name resellers - those parties operating under the umbrella of a fully fledged domain registrar.

A domain name registrar must complete a lengthy and involved accreditation process before being allowed to sell domain name services. Some registrars then take on resellers, who act as a middleman offering services to their own clients and more broadly. However, resellers do not need to undergo the same accreditation process.

While some resellers are very conscientious and their domain business is a core focus, others have domain registration as a sideline - and as a result, customer support may suffer in some cases. The party may also undergo little screening by the registrar and resellers may take on their own resellers in some arrangements; adding extra layers.

It has also been brought to the fore that law enforcement agencies can have problems at times accessing information regarding a domain name involved with an alleged crime if that name has been registered through a reseller.

According to notes relating to a recent ICANN session entitled "Briefing for GAC on Domain Name Marketplace" posted on TheDomains; the UK has outlined the challenges they face. 

"Something bad happens on a domain name and we go to the registrar and say can you them us who did this thing or who owns this domain name, who paid for it and they'll say, well, we're a channel registrar and you need to go and speak to our reseller to get that information," stated the UK representative.

"Now, sometimes we'll be able to speak to the reseller, sometimes they'll respond and sometimes they won't."

The UK says while the buck should stop with the registrar, it often doesn't when the registrar cannot access the information needed themselves or where law enforcement "..isn't in a position to get it".

The Chairman of the session stated as the issues are of ongoing concern, the problem will be examined in more depth in the time ahead.


Domain name registrars  vs. domain resellers - what's the difference?

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