As of January 1, 2014 ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers), which defines and implements policies and protocols for how internet “names and numbers” are assigned and managed around the world, has established a new protocol/requirement which may very well affect you and your website.

The short version is that your domain host/reseller is required to verify (via email) that the contact information associated with your site is correct and presented in the required format. This contact information includes email addresses, telephone numbers, and postal addresses. With regard to existing accounts, the initial focus appears to be on email addresses. Any new domain registrations will be subject to full verification.

As the first focus of this effort is email addresses, if you change the first name, last name or address of the email account associated with your web site or in your contact information, or if they have any reason to believe it is incorrect, your host is required to request, via email, confirmation of the information.

Now for the good part – if you fail to respond to the email request for verification within 15 days, your site will be replaced by a website displaying a verification error, along with instructions on how to fix it. So, it can be fixed, but as you can see, this is serious business if not handled properly.

We have our doubts about the efficacy of this process. We also have no insights as to how to distinguish legitimate verification requests from phishing attempts. But, for now at least, it is what it is, and there is no apparent way around it. Accordingly, you should watch your emails closely (including your spam folder) in case you are sent a verification request. Not seeing it will not be a defense. Your site WILL be turned off if you do not respond within the 15 day window.

There is more at the GoDaddy website and those maintained by other web hosting companies and technical bloggers. We encourage you to visit those sites and inform yourself. A quick web search for “ICANN” and/or “ICANN verification requirements” will bring up a plethora of resource sites.

If you receive a verification email and are not sure if it is SPAM or not, please call your domain registrar or contact me @ [email protected]