IRTP is the Inter-Registrar Transfer Policy developed by ICANN for the safe, straight-forward transfer of domain names from one registrar to another. The policy contains information about the method of transferring a domain name, dispute resolution mechanism and the method of undoing the transfer if it was done as a result of an error.
The IRTP was developed through a consensus building process. In early 2003, the Transfer Task Force presented a report to the GNSO council. The report had 29 policy recommendations, which were accepted by the GNSO and were adopted by ICANN. ICANN coordinated with the Transfer Assistance Group (TAG) and GNSO to implement the transfer procedure. This policy has been required to be followed by all ICANN-accredited registrars throughout the world since November 12th, 2004. The background documents and GNSO reviews on IRTP can be downloaded from here.
As of 2011, the GNSO is again reviewing the policy with respect to the issues of domain hijacking, the urgent return of an inappropriately transferred name and "lock status". On May 31st, 2011, the IRTP Working Group submitted a report featuring 9 suggested changes to the policy. The revised policy was open for comments from July 8th, 2011, to August 8th, 2011.
While the policy was under development ICANN raised few issues and requested for the public to give their comments so that an effective policy could be made. The questions published by ICANN were:
- Should registrars keep the email address of registrant in their database, so that he can be easily contacted when needed?
- Should the security of registrant data be increased in order to prevent hacking and spoofing? Should there be a Form of Authorization present to apply a double check?
- Should there be a provision for handling partial bulk transfers? Partial bulk transfers are those in which a registrar transfers some of its domains and not every domain.
In January, 2012, ahead of its February ICANN 43 meeting, the organization announced that it was considering changes to its IRTP. The GNSO council approved those changes, which entail defining a universal 5 day maximum allowable lock period for domains that have had changes made to the registrant's name in the Whois record. Domains with changes made to the name of the registrant in the Whois record are locked to prevent transfer, the policy is seen as helping prevent domain hacking. The new rule is seen as largely a response to GoDaddy's current 60 day lock policy, which has been a continued target for criticism. GoDaddy, through its representative James Bladel, was involved in creating the proposed changes.