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Hello, my name is Adrianne Cooper and I am very excited to share my first blog post with you here!

Today I would like to tell you about the new policies that ICANN (the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) has implemented with its 2013 Registrar Accreditation Agreement.

As you know, together with our exceptional hosting services, we also provide our customers with the ability to register and manage their domain names with us. This is why we need to be compliant with all ICANN rules and regulations. As they update their documentation regularly, we also revise our company policies accordingly.

Once again, we do our best to stay ahead. Starting today, our domain registration procedure has been updated so as to follow the new instructions.

You can review the official ICANN release of the document here:

http://www.icann.org/en/resources/registrars/raa/approved-with-specs-27jun13-en.htm

I will now briefly describe the changes that concern you as our customer and also the additional steps that we will include with regard to the management of domain names.

But before that, let me just quickly mention the ICANN’s gTLD (generic Top Level Domain) program, which has greatly expanded the range of the top-level domains available for registration, including Cyrillic, Arabic and Chinese characters.

The introduction of non-Latin characters in the domain names format has turned a new page in the non-English speaking online community. With the growing use of such domain names, it will be increasingly easier for people to reach out to a broader audience for their websites.

Still, the most important point that we should consider today is the way our customers will register and manage their domain names by use of our services.

Registering a domain name – what has changed?

Until recently, anyone who wanted to register a domain name (with any company around the world) could avail themselves of that option by entering their personal details, without a check performed whether this information was valid or correct. This left a door open for potential fraud and fake registrations, or invalid personal details being submitted.

As of January 2014, as a part of the most recently revised ICANN regulations, each new registration of a gTLD domain name will need to be accompanied by identity verification of the person registering the domain name. The verification will also be required in cases of domain name transfer and contact information change.

Why is this necessary and what does that do for you as a customer?

Basically, the reason behind this change of policy is greater online security and increased protection for the ownership of domain names. As you know, ICANN (the institution issuing the enhanced procedures) is an organization, which is responsible for the stable and trustworthy operation of the Internet systems. That is why they are constantly looking for ways to improve the services that come under their control, such as the registration and management of domain names.

With this simple one-click verification, you are additionally secured against domain name fraud, abuse or dishonest activities. As you are actually performing the verification by means of you email address, you are ensured that anyone who would like to obtain access to and perform changes to your domain name registration, would need to obtain access to your email address first. And this is just another obstacle before the potential fraud looking to compromise the security of online users’ accounts.

 How we have responded to these changes as a company?

So, what should our customers expect to encounter as they use our services to manage their domain names?

First, let me describe the cases in which verification will not be necessary and in effect are not influenced by the new ICANN requirements.

As many of our valued customers, you may have already registered your desired top-level domain name long ago. For such past registrations, verification will not be necessary, so you can continue using your domain name along with our hosting services, just as you did prior to the new regulations.

If you decide to update some of your personal details that have been set as administrative for your domain name (for example, your phone or address), but your name and email remain the same, then verification would again not be necessary (you can change these details from your Client Area with us, under the Domains tab).

Now, as I guess you are eager to know, let me tell you about the cases in which you should expect to perform the verification of your email address.

Most importantly, the next time you decide to register a new gTLD with us (whether you already have an existing hosting account or you are just about to join our family), you will be asked to perform the verification, as you will be trying to register a new domain name with unverified details (as per the new ICANN requirements).

You will also receive a verification email if you decide to update your name and/or the email which have been set as administrative for your existing domain name registration (again, these details can be edited from your Client Area with us, under the Domains tab).

Another occasion in which you will be asked to verify your email will be if you initiate a domain name transfer (to another person or to another company).

As you have surely observed yourself, these are all relevant occasions to perform such a check with the user’s identity and email. I am confident that you will agree that these situations (especially concerning the details change and the domain name transfer) are potentially risky with regard to the security of your ownership. With this simple click you are further ensuring that no-one would be able to overtake the authority of your domain name (by inserting their own administrative details for example) as no-one but yourself will have access to your email address (through which the verification is performed).

For further details with regard to the verification process itself, please read on.

Once you complete the registration of a domain name with us, we will send you a verification email, requiring you to click on a link. The action of clicking on this link will confirm your personal details as legitimate and yourself as the authorized owner of that particular domain name, associated with that particular administrative email address.

You will have full 14 days to complete the verification, during which time you will also be sent a couple of reminders just in case. For this 14 day period your domain name will resolve properly to your account on our servers and will be fully functional.

Please note that such a verification email would never ask of you to provide your log in details or personal information. The email sent from our company will only contain a link for you to follow, without asking for any sensitive data to be entered on any page or in a reply to the message. Our verification emails will only be sent from this email account newdomains@tmdhosting.com. Should you receive a message from an email address different from this, please be advised that it has not been sent from our company.

Once your email has been verified, you will receive a confirmation email from us and no further steps will be necessary on your part.

In case this verification is not completed within 14 days (whether because the email failed to be delivered or was simply ignored by the domain name owner) the domain name in question will be suspended until the verification procedure is completed. After the owner’s email has been verified through the process described above, the domain name will again be set to resolve to its original nameservers (a certain propagation period will result because of the nameservers change).

I have completed the verification successfully, now what?

Once your email address (associated with your First and Last Name) has been verified, all further registrations, transfers and personal details updates performed via this email will not need to be verified. You can proceed with the registration of as many new domain names as you wish, using this very same email, and you will not be required to perform the verification.

You can take a look at a short overview of the necessary steps, including examples, here:

http://www.icann.org/en/resources/registrars/raa/whois-inaccuracy-rdds-31oct13-en.pdf

In conclusion, it seems that global changes are on the way in terms of online services – with the yardstick being raised for better quality and data protection than ever.  We have taken the challenge and will perform all the necessary steps in order to meet the new requirements. As it is our own policy as a company to provide our customers with safe and reliable online presence, we are ready for the changes that are taking place.

Obviously, valid and legitimate personal information is going to be the new rule with regard to the use and registration of domain names. Hopefully, this will minimize fake registrations, abuse and unauthorized actions with regard to domain registrations. This is certain to increase your security as an online user and it will place more control in your hands in terms of the protection of your personal details.