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.
On 8 November 2012, the ICANN Board approved a series of improvements to the manner in which ICANN carries 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:
- proactively identify potentially inaccurate gTLD data registration information in gTLD registry and registrar services, explore using automated tools, and forward potentially inaccurate records to gTLD registrars for action; and
- 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.