PDP 'Thick' Whois Policy Development Process

Last Updated: 14 May 2015


For the generic top-level domain (gTLD) registries, ICANN specifies Whois service requirements through the registry agreements (ICANN 2009 Registry Agreements) and the Registrar Accreditation Agreement (RAA). Registries satisfy their Whois obligations using different services. The two common models are often characterized as "thin" and "thick" Whois registries. This distinction is based on how two distinct sets of data are managed. One set of data is associated with the domain name, and a second set of data is associated with the registrant of the domain name. A thin registry only stores and manages the information associated with the domain name. This set includes data sufficient to identify the sponsoring registrar, status of the registration, creation and expiration dates for each registration, name server data, the last time the record was updated in its Whois data store, and the URL for the registrar's Whois service. With thin registries, Registrars manage the second set of data associated with the registrant of the domain and provide it via their own Whois services, as required by Section 3.3 of the RAA 3.3 for those domains they sponsor. COM and NET are examples of thin registries. Thick registries maintain and provide both sets of data (domain name and registrant) via Whois. INFO and BIZ are examples of thick registries.

The GNSO Council requested an Issue Report on 'thick' Whois at its meeting on 22 September 2011 noting that the Issue Report should 'not only consider a possible requirement of 'thick' WHOIS for all incumbent gTLDs in the context of IRTP, but should also consider any other positive and/or negative effects that are likely to occur outside of IRTP that would need to be taken into account when deciding whether a requirement of 'thick' WHOIS for all incumbent gTLDs would be desirable or not'.


Workinggroup Status

Web Presence:

Responsible Staff Member:

  • Marika Konings

Preliminary Issue Report

Published on: 21 November 2011

Final Issue Report:

Published on: 2 February 2012

GNSO Resolution on the Initiation of the PDP:

Adopted on: 14 March 2012

Summary: Resolved, the GNSO will initiate a PDP on the issues defined in the Final Issue Report on 'thick' Whois; (see http://gnso.icann.org/issues/whois/final-report-thick-whois-02feb12-en.pdf)

Resolved, a DT will be formed to create a charter for a Working Group, which will be submitted to the GNSO Council for its approval.

Resolved, following the approval of the charter, a Working Group will be created for the purpose of fulfilling the requirements of the PDP. [see link for details]

Working Group Charter:

Adopted on: 08 October 2012

Working Group Initial Report:

Submitted on: 21 June 2013

Working Group Final Report:

Submitted on: 21 October 2013

GNSO Adoption of the Final Report:

Adopted on: 31 October 2013

Summary: Resolved: The GNSO Council recommends to the ICANN Board of Directors the adoption of Thick Whois recommendations as detailed in section 7.1 of the Final Report. [see link for details].

Public Comment Prior to ICANN Board Consideration:

Submitted on: 6 November 2013

ICANN Board Resolution Text:

Adopted on: 7 February 2014

Summary: Resolved (2014.02.07.08), the Board adopts the GNSO Council Policy Recommendations for a new Consensus Policy on Thick Whois as set forth in section 7.1 of the Final Report (see http://gnso.icann.org/en/issues/whois/thick-final-21oct13-en.pdf [PDF, 1.23 MB]).

Resolved (2014.02.07.09), the Board directs the President and CEO to develop and execute on an implementation plan for the Thick Whois Policy consistent with the guidance provided by the GNSO Council. The President and CEO is authorized and directed to work with the Implementation Review Team in developing the implementation details for the policy, and to continue communication with the community on such work.

(see http://www.icann.org/en/groups/board/documents/resolutions-07feb14-en.htm#2.c for further details)

GNSO Council Recommendations Report to the ICANN Board

Implementation Details:

Additional Information: