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ICANN terminates Net 4 India domain registrar accreditation agreement

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has terminated the delinquent domain registrar Net 4 India’s registrar accreditation agreement (RAA), it announced on Friday. This means the rights to manage domains registered by the company will be transferred to another provider in accordance with ICANN’s De-Accredited Registrar Transition Procedure. This is likely to come as a relief for Net 4 customers who have been unable to renew their domains or have payments processed.

The termination follows months of complaints from customers who have been unable to transfer their domains or process payments for renewals. The company has been embroiled in bankruptcy proceedings, and over the last couple years, ICANN has been working on processing complaints by liaising with a tribunal-appointed resolution professional, not a representative of Net 4 itself. The company’s corporate leadership was accused of leaving Net 4 a mere “dummy company” by transferring share ownership to a different entity.

In a 59 page notice to the resolution professional Vikram Bajaj, ICANN cited “repeated and consistent breaches of the RAA”, along with lapses in following several ICANN policies and missed fee payments. These issues were highlighted to Net 4 multiple times, the notice said. ICANN has been processing complaints from Net 4 users since 2019. As the company went through the throes of insolvency, nobody was left to help customers — even the company’s offices were largely empty, with just security and skeletal staff coming to keep servers running, one former employee told MediaNama. Last we checked, none of Net 4’s offices were reachable on the phone. In January, ICANN had sent Net 4 what amounted to a last warning, which the company did not address. We have reached out to Net 4 for comment.

Individual registries for domain names have already been doing their bit, ICANN said — indeed, the National Internet Exchange of India announced in October that .in domains under management at Net 4 wouldn’t expire, and provided registrants a facility to transfer their domains manually to a different registrar.

Correction (12:52pm): A previous version of this article stated that the domains under management by Net 4 India will now be auctioned to a different provider. Which provider gets Net 4 India’s domains will be determined by a process that doesn’t involve bidding. We regret the error.

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Press Release | ICANN Help Document for Net 4 Users | Letter of Termination to Net 4 India | ICANN Breach Notice to Net 4 India on January 29

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I cover the digital content ecosystem and telecom for MediaNama.

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