It’s been 16 years since the RegisterFly meltdown.
For those that don’t recall what happened, the short version is that the company got into serious difficulties and eventually ICANN pulled their accreditation. One of the issues with the RegisterFly collapse was that it was a total mess for registrants whose domains were with the company, as there was no information about who domains were registered to. Towards the tail end of 2007 ICANN introduced data escrow for all registrars which would come to be an important service when other registrars failed, which of course they did. Back then the only provider available was Iron Mountain. And all the data was stored in the US.
As a European that never sat well with me.
Eventually ICANN expanded the system to allow for other providers, but it took until about 5 years ago for ICANN to finally offer DENIC as a fully subsidised provider of data escrow services to registrars. As soon as they did we switched our escrow over to them and the overall difference in service quality was noticeable immediately.
Fast forward to 2023 and ICANN put out an RFP on data escrow. The result? DENIC has been selected as the sole ICANN-designated DEA. What that means in real terms is that instead of ICANN funding two different providers to offer the data escrow service they will only fund one. DENIC.
So what about Iron Mountain?
Well Iron Mountain sold that part of their business to NCC Group. And it looks like NCC weren’t particularly interested in providing the service to ICANN or its registrars. If a registrar is still using NCC they’ll need to switch over to DENIC and NCC will not be onboarding any new registrars. While there are other “approved” escrow agents, the others are not going to be that attractive to American or European companies.
ICANN has published a number of documents and FAQs with the timelines and other details.
Personally I’m delighted to see DENIC getting this contract, as their service to us has been impeccable.