Registry Data Escrow is a specialized data protection service designed to meet the compliance and “best practice” needs of domain name registrants worldwide. The service ensures that up-to-date copies of domain name ownership and contact details are held in escrow by a trusted, neutral third party (the Escrow Agent), to be accessed and released only under pre-defined and controlled conditions. The purpose of Registry Data Escrow is to help safeguard registrar and registrant interests in the event of a registry’s business or technical failure.

The Registry Data Escrow Agreement is available for registry operators of gTLDs. Registry operators are responsible for the security of the gTLDs WHOIS data and must comply with ICANN specifications.

In the event of the Registry Operator no longer being able to support the applicant the critical WHOIS data held in escrow will be released to ICANN allowing continuation of the TLD.

Registries must make regular deposits to their escrow account that consist of data elements residing within their then-current complete registry database. Full deposits include the contents of all domain objects, host objects, contact objects, registrar objects, and, when applicable, Domain Name System Security Extensions (DNSSEC)-related key material. All deposits must adhere to a precise set of format specifications and conventions as documented in the Registry Data Escrow Agreement.

Escrow agents are obligated to receive, store, and protect registry escrow deposits within a secure facility accessible only to the agent’s authorized staff or other representatives. Escrow agents are also required to validate the format and completeness of the data file set of each registry escrow deposit, and notify ICANN if any nonconformity are discovered; escrow agents will retest non-conforming escrow deposits upon their remediation by the Registry Operator. Finally, escrow agents will release to the beneficiary (or its designee) all deposits within its possession pertaining to the Registry Operator:

  • Whose Registry Agreement has expired without renewal or been terminated; or
  • Misses one or more full deposits or five or more differential deposits within any calendar month and fails to correct the omission(s); or
  • Whose deposits fail the escrow agent’s validation of one or more full deposits or five or more differential deposits within any calendar month and fails to remediate the failure(s); or
  • Who has ceased business operations, filed for bankruptcy, or become insolvent