The popular domain registrar GoDaddy is drops dot cn (Chinese Domain) due to the country’s new restrictions that require more personally identifiable information from registrants.
According to the report, GoDaddy Group Executive Vice-President and General Counsel Christine Jones explained that the decision has to do with new requirements that require .cn domain registrants to provide a headshot along with additional Chinese business identification information.
Jones said GoDaddy’s decision to stop registering new domains was unrelated to Google’s recent decision.
“With all due respect, this has nothing to do with Google,” she said. She added that the company had been deliberating what it would do about its business in China before Google’s announcement.
“We decided we didn’t want to be agents of China,” she said.
On January 5, .Cn registry CNNIC announced without warning that non-Chinese registrars were no longer allowed to register .cn domain names to customers. This was part of a crack down on criminal activity and, most likely, free speech on .cn domain names. It then re-opened registration to registrars such as Arizona-based Go Daddy, but required them to collect a color headshot photo identification, business identification (including a Chinese business registration number), and physical signed registration forms from the registrant.
In light of the new requirements, Go Daddy decided to not re-introduce .cn registrations on its site.
But that’s where things get bad. China also required the 1,200 registrants who have registered 27,000 .cn domain names at Go Daddy to provide the same information — headshot, ID, and signed registration forms — or risk losing their domain names. Jones testified that only about 20% of Go Daddy customers provided this information and the others are at risk of losing their domain names.
Some media reports today are suggesting that Go Daddy will no longer offer registrations in China. But to be clear, it is merely dropping .cn as a registration option. Chinese citizens can still register unrestricted domain names such as .com through Go Daddy.
ICANN does not have control over what countries do with country code top level domain names. Other countries have made similarly retro-active moves, such as Argentina retroactively limiting the number of domains that could be registered.