The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) announced yesterday that has begun the De-Accredited Registrar Transition Procedure (DARTP) to help transfer current Net4 India domain registrants to another ICANN-accredited registrar that is in good standing. ICANN had initially announced in February that Net 4 India’s registrar accreditation agreement (RAA) will be terminated on March 13 due to multiple complaints against the registrar, but the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) stayed this termination after Net 4 India’s appeal. The stay was finally lifted on April 27, allowing ICANN to initiate the next step.
Net4 India has been embroiled in bankruptcy proceedings for years now, leaving customers unable to renew or transfer their domains. ICANN tried processing complaints by liaising with a tribunal-appointed resolution professional but made no headway. ICANN has said that multiple issues including non-payment of dues were brought to Net4 India but the company did not address any of them.
Why couldn’t registrants transfer out? Due to the NCLT order, many domain registrants were left stuck with Net4 India. Larger companies like Maruti Suzuki were able to appeal with the NCLT and get their domains migrated to another registrar, but smaller companies were left with no reprieve.
On April 15, multiple people complained that their websites registered with Net4 India went offline without prior notice. On April 18, ICANN filed an affidavit with the NCLT asking them to take action soon to protect users. The affidavit mentioned complaints against Net4 India by large entities like Delhi Metro, Power Grid Corporation of India, the Bharti group, and Punjab National Bank. It also stated that ICANN received 2,400 new complaints between April 14-16 regarding Net 4’s failure to provide services.
Then on April 20, ICANN once again appeared before the Court to emphasize the gravity of the situation and was finally able to get the order lifted on April 27.
What will happen next…
ICANN will now select a competent gaining registrar which will support former Net4 India registrants with the renewal, transfer, and management of their domain names. It expects to identify this registrar within the next two weeks and will list it on the Bulk Transfers page. The new registrar will notify registrants once the transfers have been completed, and provide them with information on how to access and maintain their domain registrations. ICANN stated that there is no cost to registrants for this transfer.
Exceptions to this process: ICANN stated that domains registered with Net4 India’s reseller services are not part of DARTP. Domains registered under country code top-level domains (ccTLDs), such as .in domains, will also not be able to participate in the bulk transfer process because ICANN doesn’t set policy for these domains.
Note that last October, the National Internet Exchange of India (NIXI) announced that .in domains under Net 4 India wouldn’t expire and registrants will be provided with a facility to transfer their domains manually to a different registrar. In a statement to MediaNama, NIXI said that it had put out ads in newspapers to make .in registrants aware of the ability to get their domain names transferred to a different registrar and as of March end, NIXI solved the issues of 17,000 Net 4 India customers, but 56,000 people have not asked for any help yet.
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