Domain registrars like GoDaddy will soon be held far more accountable for information on those who are signing up for web domains. In the future, users will need to verify either their email address or phone number within 15 days of applying for a domain. Without verification, registrars are instructed to suspend domain registrations. The new rule, which is one among many, comes as part of a new Registrar Accreditation Agreement (RAA) approved earlier this week by the board of directors of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) — a nonprofit which oversees everything from top-level domains to IP addresses. The updated rules, which won't take effect until a later date when registrars sign the new agreement, should make the often-inaccurate WHOIS data on domain registrations a bit more reliable, while deterring those looking to set up websites for illicit purposes from doing so.
The new agreement doesn't just require verification of registrant data, however. Registrars will be required to maintain information on those who signed up for domains, including details like credit cards, for two years after users cancel their registrations. Other information like the IP address used to sign up for a registration needs to be recorded and given to ICANN at its request for up to 180 days. Registrants will also need to update their contact information within seven days of any change under the new rules, though it's unclear how that will be enforced — the old rules only provided for 15 days to update such details and data was often outdated.
Update: An earlier version of this article stated that registrants would need to have both their email address and phone number verified to register a domain under the new RAA. The agreement only stipulates that one or the other is verified. We regret the error.