Nominet maybe attracting some undue attention due to behind the scenes squabbles, governance reviews and proposed policy changes, but the registry is also developing new features and services.
Today they announced a number of things that are worthy of attention.
The biggest one in many respects is the introduction of a new domain locking mechanism – “phishing lock”.
This new mechanism allows registrars to effectively lockdown a domain or an entire account should they feel that the domain(s) are being used for phishing fraud or other types of abuse:
* Remove the domain name from the zone file. This means that the domain name will not resolve to a web page and email directed to it will not be delivered.
* Lock all information relating to the domain name. This prevents registrant transfers, registrar changes, nameserver modifications and domain name cancellation.
* Set the domain name’s status on the WHOIS to “suspended”.
* If applied to an account, lock all domain names on the account. If applied to a single domain name only, that domain name will be locked. Other domain names in the same account will be unaffected.
* Not make any changes in respect of invoicing. If the domain name is not yet invoiced it will be invoiced as normal.
Nominet’s information page on the new mechanism makes it clear that the lock’s usage will be monitored and that registrars should not abuse it or use it for any purpose other than that for which it was intended:
* The registrant has not paid monies owed to you
* The registrant is suspected or accused of civil wrongs, e.g. a breach of contract or IP infringement (although you may wish to take other action if you are hosting the relevant content)
* The registrant has been accused of criminal activity by one person who does not supply supporting information or evidence of the criminality
* The alleged criminal activity has nothing to do with the registrant’s domain name
However it is unclear how they will act should a registrant contact them directly when their domain is locked.
The other changes were not as “exciting” in some respects, but are still worth mentioning.
If you follow domain disputes or want to investigate them the new DRS (Nominet’s dispute resolution service) search function is a welcome addition. You can now search past DRS decisions using a range of options including keywords, domain name, expert etc.,
The other big change today was the introduction of “standard EPP“. EPP is a system used by many of the domain registries to handle registrations and modifications to domain names. Unfortunately many registrars were not overly impressed with Nominet’s implementation of EPP, so this new “standard” version may prove to be more popular, as it uses data structures that are similar to those used elsewhere.
It will be interesting to see if the registrar community adopt the new EPP, though its impact on registrants in either case should be minimal.