Information about the service providers who are responsible for the domain name registrations of Internet websites.
Domain names are the names of the websites we visit on the Internet. Say, the website address 'www.abc.com', is also known as its domain name. Registration needs a sign up with domain name registration service providers. This is an association accredited by the ICANN (Internet corporation for assigned names and numbers) to register Internet domain names.
Another authority which controls top level domains is the country code top level domain authority (ccTLD). The ccTLDs can also provide accreditation to Domain Name Registrars. These are for the country code based top level domains, such as .uk or .au.
Until 1999, there were no domain name registration service providers apart from the NSI (Network Solutions) who operated the .com, .net, and .org registries. Thus, NSI was the domain name registry operator.
Soon, however, many companies began to enter the market and began providing registration services, and eventually, introduced a wholesale and retail sale of domain name servers in the industry.
Eventually, the ICANN gave in to the pressure of the growing domain name services providers and amended NSI's agreement with the US Department of Commerce and a Shared Registration Service (SRS) was created to support many services providers. Today there are over 500 registered domain name server registration and service providers in the world.
How to Become One
To become a domain name registration service provider, each ICANN designated registrar must pay a fee of USD 4000, along with a per registrar variable fee of USD 3.8 Million, which is divided between all the accredited registrars.
When a registrar registers a .com domain name, he has to pay an annual fee of around USD 7 to VeriSign and an administration fee of USD 0.18 to the ICANN. This has ensured that the entry into the SRS provider market is costly for new companies. Only a designated or accredited registrar has the authority to modify or delete the information of a domain name.
Owing to the competitive environment of the SRS, different service providers offer different rates for their services. This often enables end users to change their service providers, based on the quality and cost of the services provided by them.
Domain Name Transfers
When end users change their domain name registration service provider, the process is called a domain name transfer. The process involves the end user contacting his new service provider who in turn contacts the old service provider with this information.
The old registrar then contacts the end user to verify this information and upon receiving his confirmation, releases his authority to the new service provider. The new service provider then contacts the end user when this process is completed.
This has also given rise to several scams where smaller service-providers tried to steal some customers from NSI by sending them e-mails or contacting them by phone. The data of the end user is available on the WHOIS database and these scammers used this information to turn customers over to them, by offering various lucrative schemes and service plans.
Other scammers get their data from the WHOIS database and find out the expiry dates of websites. Once the website registration has expired, no authentication process is required to transfer the domain name registry management to another service provider.
Therefore, the owners of domain names or the end users have to be extremely cautious about their dealings with service providers. A list of the accredited service providers is available on ICANN's website and end users should always deal with the ones accredited.