Starting on January 1, 2014, there are some pretty big changes coming to the way domain names are purchased and managed courtesy the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).
ICANN is the organization that oversees generic domain names (i.e. .com, .net, .info) and they are implementing a registrant verification system that all domain name registrars will have to support starting in 2014.
As part of this new process, registrants will be required to verify the email address that they use to register generic top-level domains.
For new domain registrations, it will mean that shortly after you register a domain, you’ll receive an email with a special link that you’ll need to click in order to verify that the email address you provided is valid, and that it is in your control. That verification must happen within 15 days.
For domains that you already own, there are a couple of things that could cause you to have to verify (or re-verify) your email address:
- If a reminder or renewal email sent to the email address you use in your domain registration bounces, you’ll need to re-verify that email, or update it to one that works.
- If you change either the first/last name or email address on one of your domain registrations, you’ll have to verify the new information.
Important info! Don’t stop reading just yet
Failure to verify the email address associated with your domain within 15 days will result in that domain being suspended.
In other words, your website, email, or Google Apps will stop working until you verify the address (or provide a new one and verify it).
It’s a bit complicated, but you won’t always trigger the verification process when you register a new domain or make a change. It all depends on the specific circumstances around your domain registration.
For example, if you already own a domain that has a verified email address, and you register a new domain with the exact same first/last name and email address, that new domain is considered verified. Similarly, if you change contact information on a domain to information that exactly matches another verified domain, you won’t need to verify the change.
How Hover will help
We’re going to do our very best to keep you informed as to the current status of all domains in your account once the new verification policy kicks in.
Over the last few months, we’ve built some additional ways to keep you informed about your account and the domain names you own:
- The notification bar which we added recently will be used to let you know that you have a domain that needs to be verified.
- The new domain manager we rolled out early in December was designed to allow for us to provide a clear visual indication when a domain in your account needs to be verified.
- We’ll send additional emails to your alternate email contacts if a domain gets close to being suspended, alerting you that action is required.
As you would expect, our customer support team will also be working hard to give special attention to any domains that get close to the 15-day point without being verified. We’ll use all the contact points we have for you to get in touch – phone, alternate email, etc. to do everything we can to prevent any domains from being suspended.
The last thing we want to have happen is for one of your domains to go offline.
How you can help
You can help prevent that from ever happening by ensuring that the email address on your domain registrations is valid and able to receive email. And make sure that you’ve provided us with an alternate email address in your Hover account just in case.
Any updates you make to your domain registrations prior to the end of the year won’t require verification. We strongly recommend that you visit your account over the next couple of weeks and double-check that you have the right information on all of your domains.
Keep in mind that this new policy applies to all registrars, not just Hover. We’re required to follow the procedure in order to maintain our ICANN accreditation that allows us to sell domain names.
We’ll have more information about registrant verification in the coming weeks.