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Please note that the documents linked below related to the PDP are provided for informational purposes. Some documents are produced by the GNSO and others are not. To learn about the materials on the Active Project pages, please see this overview.


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 have historically satisfied their WHOIS obligations under two different models, often characterized as "thin" and "thick" WHOIS registries. This description is based on how the two distinct sets of data are maintained.

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. In a thin registration model, 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. The registry publishes that information and maintains certain status information at the registry level. 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.

In a thick registration model, the registry maintains and provides both sets of data (domain name and registrant) from the registrar and publishes that data via WHOIS.

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."

On 14 March 2012, the GNSO Council initiated a PDP to consider a possible requirement of thick WHOIS for all gTLDs. The PDP working group finalized its report and submitted it to the GNSO Council on 21 October 2013. The GNSO PDP working group recommends all gTLD registries to provide thick WHOIS services with a consistent labeling and display (CL&D). It would improve the stability of and access to WHOIS data, as well as potentially reduce acquisition and processing cost for consumers of WHOIS data. During its meeting on 31 October 2013, the GNSO Council unanimously adopted the recommendation to require thick WHOIS for all gTLD registries. Following the Public Comment forum and the Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC) notification, the ICANN Board considered and adopted the recommendations during its meeting on 7 February 2014.

The CL&D of the Registration Data Directory Service (RDDS) Output for All gTLDs policy has completed implementation by the policy effective date of 1 August 2017.

For the Thick WHOIS Transition Policy for .com, .net, and .jobs, on 7 November 2019, the ICANN Board passed a Resolution to defer contractual compliance enforcement. ICANN Contractual Compliance will defer enforcement of the Thick WHOIS Transition Policy until all of the following have occurred:

  • the gTLD Registration Data Policy Implementation Review Team (IRT) completes its review and establishes an implementation timeline estimate of the Expedited Policy Development Process (EPDP) Team on Temporary Specification for gTLD Registration Data's Phase 1 recommendations as adopted by the ICANN Board on 15 May 2019;
  • ICANN org and the IRT provide the GNSO Council with the required information on the impacts of the EPDP Team's recommendations on existing policies and procedures (including the Thick WHOIS Transition policy); and
  • the GNSO Council makes a determination on whether to take action on updates to relevant policies and procedures (which could include additional policy work, guidance, or other actions to be determined) impacting the Thick WHOIS Transition Policy.

For avoidance of doubt, the Thick Whois Transition Policy for .COM .NET and .JOB has been in effect since 1 February 2019. The board resolution pertains to the compliance enforcement action only.

Learn more about the implementation effort here.


Implementation Status

Web Presence:

Responsible Staff Member:

  • Marika Konings

Working Group Members & Leadership and GNSO Liaison

For the latest information and status on this project:

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

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

Input from Supporting Organizations/Advisory Committees and GNSO Stakeholder Groups/Constituencies:

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].

GNSO Council Report to the ICANN Board:

Submitted on: 14 January 2014

Public Comment Prior to ICANN Board Consideration:

Submitted on: 6 November 2013

Notification by the ICANN Board to the GAC to Request Input on Whether Policy Recommendations Raise Public Policy Issues:

Submitted on: 12 November 2013

Board Paper

Submitted on: 7 February 2014

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 [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 for further details)

Notice of Policy Actions:

Adopted on: 7 February 2014

Implementation Details:

Additional Information: