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Public Domain Registry begins transferring Net 4 India domain registrants

Public Domain Registry (PDR) has begun reaching out to Net 4 India domain registrants with details on how they will transfer their domains to its partner registries. It expects to complete the transfer and account creation process in batches over the coming weeks, starting next week, the company said in an email to Net 4 India domain registrants.

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) had appointed PDR as the gaining registrar for all domain names that were with the de-accredited Net4 India registrar. This development comes as a relief to Net4 India customers who have been in limbo, even since Net4 India’s bankruptcy proceedings began several months ago. PDR is a US-based company, owned by the Burlington, Massachusetts based Endurance International Group, which owns several domain and web hosting storefronts.

PDR is in talks with various partner domain registries to schedule the transfer of the Net 4 India domains and said that it received all the domain registration data through ICANN and is in the process of verifying the data. Once the domain names are transferred, Net 4 India customers will have new accounts with the partner brand and will receive an email with instructions on how to access your account. PDR has said that customers do not have to do anything at their end during this process. PDR is publishing regulate updates on the transfer process here.

Note that, country specific codes for Top Level Domains (ccTLDs) domains like .in, which are not administered by ICANN, cannot be retrieved as a part of this bulk transfer. Net 4 customers will have to directly approach country registries to retrieve those domain names. For India, the registry is the National Internet Exchange of India. NIXI published details on transferring .in domains here.

Timeline of the Net 4 issue

  • September 2020: For months on end, Net4 customers, small and big, complain that they are unable to renew or access their domains. The company itself is embroiled in bankruptcy proceedings and has barely any staff to address complaints.
  • October 2020: It emerged that Net4’s shareholding surreptitiously changed hands, and its founder and CEO was in the United Kingdom. NIXI committed to not letting .in domains registered with Net 4 expire, and started offering support.
  • February 2021: After recording several lapses, ICANN announces that it will terminate Net4’s accreditation, opening the way for Net 4 domains to be transferred to another functioning registrar.
  • March 2021: In a setback for users, the National Company Law Tribunal puts ICANN’s termination on hold, as the insolvency professional assigned to Net4 argues that a bulk transfer of Net4 domains would erode the value of the entity, complicating asset reconstruction efforts. ICANN argues that NCLT has no jurisdiction to put their termination on hold as they are not based in India.
  • April 2021: Things take a turn for the worse as Net4 customers complain that the registrar’s website — and customers’ own sites — had gone down. Armed with this new development, ICANN, represented by the law firm Trilegal, filed an urgent application with NCLT to put an end to registrants’ uncertainty and to let the termination of Net4’s accreditation proceed. NCLT allowed this, clearing the way for the domain to be transferred to a new registrar.
  • May 2021: After some scouting, ICANN announced that the receiving registrar for supported domains will be Public Domain Registry, or PDR, which is owned by the US-based Endurance International Group.

Disclosure: MediaNama has domains that were in management with Net4 India.

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