Whois, my friend

One of my relatives moved into a new house the other day. No big news, except he is a registrant of a generic domain name.

He spent a lot of his time to inform utility companies, banks, insurance companies, administrations, etc of his address change, BUT he did  not tell his registrar.

You see, his registrar sends him every two or three years an e-mail asking to pay for the renewal. He then gets the invoice through e-mail. No postal mail is sent at all. That is all he knows about the domain name he uses. Other than that, it just works. E-mail to his domain gets delivered,  his web site is reachable. What else should he care about ?

As it stands, he should really care about updating his records with his registrar. A whois query on his domain name now returns a false postal address. This honest citizen now has the crowds of those hideous people who leave false information in the whois. Surely, law enforcement authorities may think of him as a terrorist covering his tracks. Intellectual property lawyers may think he is stealing somebody’s trade mark. According to term of the ICANN Registrar Accreditation Agreement, he risks seeing his domain cancelled.

The sad truth is that this nice guy actually does not even know his $10/year domain is at risk. In the unlikely event his domain name gets cancelled, pleading the good faith will not help a lot. He may not notice it until he gets a phoen call telling himl the e-mails to him are undelivered.  It will be too late to react, because human errors by uninformed customers are not taken into account in ICANN policies. So, before he says  “I should have known” maybe I should tell him.

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