Is time up for Freenom? After being sued by Facebook and losing its contracts to operate ccTLDs for at least two countries, now it also has ICANN Compliance to deal with.
Its registrar arm, Netherlands-based OpenTLD, has been hit with a lengthy ICANN breach notice that alleges the company failed to allow its customers to renew and/or transfer their domains, in violation of the registrar contract.
It’s the fifth time OpenTLD has been targeted by Compliance, following breach notices in 2020, 2017 and 2015 and a notice of suspension later in 2015. ICANN says this notice is for the same sorts of failures as in 2020 and 2017.
The latest notice covers a dozen separate cases, probably the largest number in a single breach notice to date. Some of them ICANN has been investigating as far back as January 2022.
The notice says that OpenTLD failed to allow some registrants of expired domains to recover their names under the Expired Registration Recovery Policy and that some registrants were not provided with the AuthInfo codes they need to transfer their domains to other registrars upon request, which registrars have to do under the Transfer Policy.
It goes on to describe a situation where the registrar habitually did not respond to Compliance’s calls, emails or faxes.
OpenTLD apparently has not filed its 2022 Compliance Certificate with ICANN either, which it was supposed to do before January 20 this year.
The company had almost 19,000 gTLD domain names under management at the end of May, down from a 2019 peak of almost 45,000, but it’s probably better known for being Freenom, the registry behind .ml, .ga, .cf, .gq and .tk.
Domains in these five ccTLDs — mostly representing West African nations suffering under military dictatorships or civil war — were offered for free and monetized by the registry upon expiration or suspension.
But Freenom has not offered new regs in these TLD since the start of the year. Its web site blames technical problems, but it’s widely believed to be a result of the cyberquatting lawsuit filed by Facebook owner Meta in late 2022.
Mali and Gabon, of .ml and .ga, have since severed ties with Freenom. It turned out .ga had seven million domains in its zone, most of which presumably belonged to the registry.
OpenTLD has until October 11 to give ICANN evidence that it followed policy with the renewals or transfers of dozens of names domains or risk losing its accreditation.
The post Freenom hit by FIFTH ICANN action after litany of screw-ups first appeared on Domain Incite.