ICANN’s New WHOIS Online Accuracy Reporting System

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is seeking one or more providers to assist ICANN in the development, operation, and maintenance of the WHOIS Online Accuracy Reporting System.

Every year, millions of individuals, businesses, organizations and governments register domain names. Each one must provide identifying and contact information which may include: name, address, email, phone number, and administrative and technical contacts. This information is often referred to as “WHOIS data.”

ICANN‘s Affirmation of Commitments (AoC) requires ICANN to “implement measures to maintain timely, unrestricted and public access to accurate and complete WHOIS information…” To do that, registrars and registries provide public access to data on registered names. Anyone can use WHOIS to search the databases and identify the registered name holder or “registrant” of a generic domain name.

The WHOIS Online Accuracy Reporting System (“Accuracy Reporting System”) is a project mandated by ICANN‘s Board of Directors that will:

  • Proactively identify potentially inaccurate gTLD WHOIS contact data through random sampling;
  • Forward potentially inaccurate records to gTLD registrars for investigation and follow-up;
  • Publicly report on the resulting actions; and
  • In future iterations, enable ICANN‘s Contractual Compliance Department to examine the potential accuracy of Whois data in the course of enforcement of Whois accuracy obligations of registrars and registries;

to encourage improved accuracy. More information on WHOIS is available here.

ICANN is seeking proposals through this RFP from vendors or service providers that can perform one or more of the functions for the Accuracy Reporting System. ICANN expects that it will likely contract with several vendors to perform the wide range of services called for in this RFP.

The goals of the Accuracy Reporting System are to:

  • Provide transparency into the accuracy of generic domain name WHOIS records
  • Derive data to inform changes to the WHOIS policy
  • Determine whether recent contractual changes (such as those relating to WHOIS validation and verification) and policy changes (such as the new consensus policy requiring “thick WHOIS”) result in measurable increases in accuracy levels
  • Enhance ICANN‘s contractual compliance activities through access to automated tools to examine certain data elements included in WHOIS records.

The objective of this RFP is to identify one or more vendors to provide services, software or data to support ICANN‘s development of the Accuracy Reporting System, to provide the following functionality, as described in greater detail in the RFP:

  • WHOIS Parser – to standardize the format of WHOIS data records collected from gTLD registrars and registries;
  • Global Validation and Verification Services – to examine WHOIS contact data, including postal address, email, telephone and registrant identity;
  • Study Design and Delivery Services – to define the parameters of the statistical analysis to be deployed in the Accuracy Reporting System, and to perform the defined statistical analysis study and reporting services; and
  • Visual Communication Services – to create and design innovative visual communication solutions to display the complex statistical data output from these ongoing studies in a user-friendly manner.

For additional information and instructions for submitting responses please see http://whois.icann.org/sites/default/files/files/online-accuracy-reporting-rfp-16may14-en.zip [ZIP, 2.09 MB].

Activity Dates
RFP published 16 May 2014
Participants to provide intent to respond to RFP by emailing whois-rfp@icann.org by 23:59 UTC on 21 May 2014
Participants submit any questions using Q&A Excel template by emailing whois-rfp@icann.org by 22 May 2014
ICANN to respond to questions by 29 May 2014
Participant RFP proposals due by emailing whois-rfp@icann.org by 23:59 UTC on 6 June 2014
Target for evaluation and vendor presentations Mid June
Target for contract finalization (includes contracting and award to participant) July
Target for Project Kick-off Meeting in ICANN‘s Los Angeles Offices July 15
Development of Accuracy Reporting System July-Aug
Data Gathering & Analysis Aug
Pilot Report Published Sept
Community Feedback on Pilot Report Oct
Modifications to Accuracy Reporting System Oct – Nov
Launch of Accuracy Reporting System December 15, 2014

Proposals should be submitted to <whois-rfp@icann.org> by 23:59 UTC on 6 June 2014. Submissions must be provided using supplied templates, supplemented by additional information, as necessary.


About Konstantinos Zournas

I studied Computer Engineering and Computer Science in London, UK and I am now living in Athens, Greece. I went online in 1995, started coding in 1996 and began buying domain names and creating websites in 2000. I started the OnlineDomain.com blog in 2012.


  1. Hi Konstantinos,

    I can see how this post could well be informative.

    But, I don’t understand why you give ICANN so much positive web space!

    Maybe, a delve into ICANN’s actual movements could be just as enlightening?

  2. Hi Konstantinos,

    Sorry if I didn’t make myself clear. Firstly, I must commend you on your regular output of quality blogging.

    Since our last communication, I just find it difficult to divulge. I believe with a little bit of digging, one might find some enlightening insights around ICANN and their policy and code of conducts and whether their policy is adhered too?

    We know that ICANN don’t listen to the net user if they raise an issue of related concern, I would expect ICANN, as the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers to express interest when concerns are raised relating to the Domain Industry, and for them to be addressed respectfully.


  3. Too true my friend. Maybe it’s about time our segment of the Domain Industry started getting some answers?

    I believe with various ‘Call to Action’ blog’s of recent and with ICANN’s eliteness, we (Domain Investors) need to take a stand.

    Another ‘Call to Action’…

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