Domain Registration

Internet users navigate their way around the web using Universal Resource Locators (URLs) – which are particular and unique identities of web pages. These URLs are connected to particular IP addresses (numeric identities). The domain name is synonymous to the URL because it confers a unique easy to remember name to a webhost. This uniqueness is further strengthened by the fact that the process of registering a domain name has made it impossible for a website to share the same domain name with another; especially with the same Top Level Domain (TLD) extensions such as .com, .nz, .ca.

Origins and Foundation

The internetworking and compatibility of computers around the world, birthed by the invention of the Internet, was originally managed and ordered by the Network Information Center (NIC). The NIC, founded by Elizabeth J. Feinter in 1972 was responsible for maintaining order in the internet by registering domain names and Internet Protocol (IP) numbers and keeping a database of these so that there is no careless duplication and reduplication of domain names.

In the last decade of the 20thcentury, the internet became accessible to the public and its potentials were recognized and promptly exploited especially by businesses and government agencies around the world. This sudden boom in the World Wide Web (www) prompted the United States Department of Commerce and other groups and bodies to develop and maintain a database of all registered domain names in the US. This database is maintained, controlled, managed and updated by the Internet Network Information Center (interNIC), a new generation and more contextualized version of the NIC. Other countries, especially those with registered TLDs have and maintain their own NICs. Today, the interNIC is known as the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). lists amongst other charges its primary functions to include:

  • Domain Name Registration
  • Mediation in Domain Name Transfer Dispute
  • Unsolicited Renewal or Transfer Solicitation
  • Unauthorized Transfer of Your Domain Name
  • Trademark Infringement
  • Registrar Services Dispute
  • Financial Transaction Issues


The process of registering a Domain name starts with the registrant registering the proposed name with ICANN or a registrar accredited by ICANN, who then ensures the availability of the proposed domain name. If available, a WHOIS record is created using the registrar’s information. In the case of a registrant attempting to switch registrars, the registrant has to be fully aware of the policies governing this process.

A designated fee is paid to the registrar and ad administration fee is paid to ICANN. These are renewed annually for continual access to the use of that domain name.

Accredited Registrars

In 2009, all registrars who had the legal backing of ICANN signed a contract known as the 2009 RAA. This contract sets out many provisions that help buffer registrants and prospective registrant. However, due to the inadequacy of not being able to provide many generic Top Level Domains (gTLDs) in the future, the 2009 RAA was replaced by a more incorporating 2013 RAA. ‘The 2013 RAA provides enhanced protections for registrants and an increased level of accountability to third parties’.

Click this link to see the 2013 RAA list of accredited registrars:

Policy for Transfer of Registrar

ICANN stipulates clearly the following reasons why a registrar may deny a registrant’s transfer request:

  • When there is evidence of fraud
  • When there is a court order restraining any of the parties
  • When there is a reasonable dispute over the identity of the persons authorizing the transfer
  • When the domain name is placed on hold due to unpaid fees
  • When there is a written objection from the domain name holder
  • When the domain name is locked
  • When the domain name is still under 60 days after initial registration
  • When the domain name is still under 60 days since a previous transfer
  • When there is a Uniform Domain-Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) action

In each of these cases, registrars are expected to succinctly state the reason for denying the registrant’s transfer request. The registrants are also expected to contact their current registrar or the registrar they intend to transfer to for assistance.

ICCAN Policies on transfer of registrars and other sundry and dispute issues can be assessed on their website. Follow this URL:

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