Current Information About GNSO-Approved gTLD Whois Studies

Last Updated: 19 March 2014

Whois services provide public access to data on registered domain names, which currently includes contact information for Registered Name Holders. The GNSO Council commissioned several studies to obtain objective, quantifiable data that can be used to inform community discussions about Whois policy.

Whois Misuse Study. This study examines the extent to which public Whois contact information for gTLD domain names is misused to address harmful communications such as spam, phishing or identity theft. The Carnegie Mellon University Cylab in Pittsburgh, PA, USA performed this study. The Final Report was published in March 2014 following public comment.

To learn more about this study: click on the link above. To read the Final Report: click here.

Whois Registrant Identification Study. This study uses Whois to classify entities that register gTLD domain names, including natural persons, legal persons, and Privacy/Proxy service providers. Using associated Internet content, it then classifies entities using those domains and potentially commercial activities. NORC at the University of Chicago performed this study. Final results were published in June 2013 following public comment.

To learn more about this study: click on the link above. To read the final Project Summary Report: click here.

Whois Privacy and Proxy Services Abuse Study. This study examines the extent to which gTLD domain names used to conduct illegal or harmful Internet activities are registered via Privacy or Proxy services to obscure the perpetrator's identity. The National Physical Laboratory in the United Kingdom, led by Dr. Richard Clayton of the University of Cambridge, performed this study. The Final Report was published in March 2014 following public comment.

To learn more about this study: click on the link above. To read the Final Report: click here.

Whois Privacy and Proxy Relay/Reveal Survey. This survey assessed the feasibility of conducting a future in-depth study into communication Relay and identity Reveal requests sent for gTLD domain names registered using Proxy and Privacy services. The Interisle Consulting Group in Boston, MA, USA performed this survey and posted final results in August 2012 following public comment.

To learn more about this survey: click on the link above. To read the Final Report: click here.

Whois Service Requirements Survey. This study surveyed community members to estimate the level of agreement with the conclusions and assumptions in the Inventory of Whois Service Requirements – Final Report. A GNSO Working Group was assembled to create the survey and published its report in August 2013.

To learn more about this survey: click on the link above. To review the results of the survey: click here.

For More Information

Contact Mary Wong, Senior Policy Director, ICANN

Archived Whois Study Documents, including related background, posted RFPs and Terms of Reference, staff reports, and GNSO Council motions, can be viewed here.