A Complete Guide to Domain Transfers

 

Each Registry can impose their own rules with regards to how transfers are handled, and are often different for generic TLDs (gTLDs) than they are for country code TLDs (ccTLDs). OpenSRS has been built to accommodate the differences in policies and procedures that exist with each TLD Registry. In addition, there are different requirements for the Losing Registrar and the Gaining Registrar, and so transfer processes are discussed in terms of transfers into your account and transfers away from your account separately.

For information on bulk domain transfers, please see this article: https://help.opensrs.com/hc/en-us/articles/204275923--Bulk-Domain-Transfers

Users and roles

End-user: The party that is requesting the transfer to or from OpenSRS.

Administrative Contact: The current admin contact of the domain name.

Gaining Reseller: The OpenSRS Reseller that is sponsoring the transfer.

Gaining Registrar: The Registrar that is sponsoring the transfer.

Losing Reseller: The current Reseller of the domain in question.

Losing Registrar: The current Registrar of record for the domain.

General transfer rules

For a transfer to be successful, the following conditions must exist:

  • Domain cannot be in Locked or Hold status.
  • For Reseller to Reseller or Registrar to Registrar transfers of gTLDs or .US domains, the domain must have resided with the losing Registrar for more than 60 days since it was first registered or transferred there.
  • Transfers add one year to the domain's registration; therefore, the gaining Reseller must have a sufficient balance for the renewal in order to complete the transfer request.
  • Domain names that are expired but not deleted (up to 40 days past the expiry date, for most TLDs) can be transferred.
  • The current administrative contact's email address must be valid, to allow for the confirmation of the transfer request.

A domain's nameservers cannot be changed during a Registrar transfer; advise your clients that the nameservers will remain the same during the transfer, and they can be changed once the domain has reached the OpenSRS system.

Domain transfers in the Test environment (Horizon)

It is not currently possible to simulate the transfer of a domain name using the test system (Horizon). You can place transfer orders, but since Horizon only contains test domains, this is not an adequate representation of the transfer process.

Transfers into your account

With this type of transfer, a domain is moving to an OpenSRS Reseller and away from another Registrar or another OpenSRS Reseller. In this scenario, the end-user requests the change with the Gaining Reseller, who initiates the transfer. In terms of initiating the process, Resellers simply initiate a standard transfer; the OpenSRS system determines whether to deal with it as a Registrar or Reseller transfer.

The system confirms that certain preconditions have been met—if not, the appropriate Transfer Failed error message is sent, and the domain notes are updated with an explanation of why the transfer failed. In the Resellers Control Panel, use the filter to view the domain (you may have to click Disable Filters in order to do so) - the status will indicate the reason for failure.

If the preconditions are met, the system places the necessary funds on hold and sends an email to the domain's administrative contact, directing them to a website where they can approve or decline the transfer. If the transfer order was submitted by someone other than the admin contact on record (i.e. submitted by the domain's new admin contact), the new admin contact can be sent a reminder email advising them to obtain the transfer-approval email from the current admin contact's email address. To enable this function through the Resellers Control Panel, select Account Settings in the drop-down menu at the top right. In Account Messaging, enable Transfer Notification Courtesy Message to Admin Contact.

Upon approval from the administrative contact, the transfer is processed:

  • The held funds are released.
  • The account is adjusted.
  • The domain is moved by the Registry.
  • The WHOIS info is updated.
  • The system notifies all parties involved that the transfer was successful (optionally, based on Resellers' system settings).
  • For a Reseller to Reseller transfer, the domain is marked Deleted Transferred in the Losing Reseller's database.

If the administrative contact declines the transfer, the system cancels the transaction:

  • The held funds are released.
  • The domain notes are updated.
  • All involved parties are notified that the transfer was not successful (optionally, based on Resellers' system settings).

If the admin contact does not respond to the email within five days:

  • The held funds are released.
  • The transfer request is cancelled.
  • The domain's administrative contact is notified that the transfer has been cancelled.

The Transfer Process

This section of the document takes a step-by-step look at the transfer process from the user point of view.

Step 1 - End-user requests transfer

The end-user chooses to have their domain transferred to an OpenSRS Reseller and submits a request through the Reseller’s online form.

Alternatively, the Reseller can enter the transfer request on behalf of the user in the Domains section of the Resellers Control Panel.  This follows the same process outlined in the quickstart guide, selecting Transfer if it appears instead of Register Now.

When the transfer successfully completes, the name is inserted into this profile.

If you have opted to Process Orders Immediately, the end-user's submitted request immediately goes to “Step 3 Administrative contact confirms request".

At this point, the appropriate amount from your account balance is placed on hold until the transfer process is completed or cancelled.

If you have not opted to Process Orders Immediately, the end-user's submitted request is placed in Pending status.

Once the end-user's transfer request has been submitted, the system automatically sends the domain's administrative contact an email directing them to a website where they can approve or decline the transfer. (This message is sent as soon as the request is submitted, regardless of the Gaining Reseller's Process Orders Immediately setting.)

Step 2 - Reseller reviews the transfer request

This step is only necessary if you have chosen not to Process Orders Immediately.

You can review the transfer request by using the domain filter, and either accept or cancel it.

It the transfer is accepted, it continues to the next step, and the appropriate amount of your account balance is placed on hold until the transfer process is completed or cancelled.

If the transfer request is submitted with a different admin contact email address than the one currently associated with the domain, the system sends an email message to the transfer contact, prompting them to check the other email address to obtain the transfer-approval message.

If you choose to cancel the transfer, an email is sent to the domain's admin contact, notifying them that the transfer was cancelled and explaining why.

Note: Orders can stay in this state indefinitely; the requests simply remain in the queue until you approve or cancel them.

Once the domain transfer is approved, you can check the transfer status at any time

Step 3—Administrative contact confirms request

The current administrative contact receives an email containing a link that includes a key to the OpenSRS transfer approval page; this email is parsed from the existing WHOIS information for that domain.

Note: If the OpenSRS system is unable to retrieve the administrative contact information from the Losing Registrar WHOIS server, OpenSRS staff review the transfer request manually. If we are able to find current administrative contact information, we send notification to that email address; if we are not able to find current administrative contact information, the transfer request is cancelled and you are notified that the transfer has been cancelled.

The administrative contact either approves or declines the request. If the request is approved, the transfer process continues—for Reseller to Reseller transfers, payment is taken from the Gaining Reseller's account, and the domain is moved into the new Reseller's profile.

If the transfer request is declined, the Gaining Reseller is notified and the funds that were put on hold for the order are returned to your account.

If the domain's administrative contact does not approve or decline the transfer request within five days, the order is automatically cancelled, the on-hold funds are returned to the Gaining Reseller's account, and all involved parties are notified.

Step 4—OpenSRS reviews the transfer request

Once approved by the administrative contact, the transfer request is queued to the OpenSRS system for review. This process takes approximately 24 to 48 hours, but has no time limit.

If the transfer is acceptable, OpenSRS approves it and a request is submitted to the Losing Registrar for the domain in question.

If the transfer is unacceptable, OpenSRS cancels it and sends a transfer-failure notification that includes a reason for the cancellation.

Step 5—Registrar reviews the transfer request

The Losing Registrar has five days to either approve or decline the request. It is important to note that if the Losing Registrar takes no action, the request is automatically approved after the fifth day. However, if the losing Registrar declines the request, we must wait nine days before officially cancelling the transfer.

If the losing Registrar approves the request (or the fifth day passes with no cancellation), the Registry updates the information in the root server to reflect an OpenSRS-hosted domain and the order status is updated. In this event, the funds on hold are permanently deducted from the gaining Reseller's account.

If the Registrar declines the request any time within the five-day period, the order status is updated and the funds on hold are returned to your account balance.

The 15-day wait for a cancellation notice is a limitation of the communications systems between various Registrars. While OpenSRS should be notified immediately if the Losing Registrar declines a transfer, this is not always the case. If we are not notified of a cancellation, we cannot be sure that the lack of response indicates a successful transfer (after five days without answer) or a miscommunication. If we have not received notification of the cancellation from the Losing Registrar, but they actually had cancelled the domain, then we risk notifying you that the transfer was approved, when in fact it was not. So, we wait 15 days before informing you that the transfer was cancelled.

An in-depth look at transfers in

This section traces the transfer-in process from a technical, system-oriented point of view.

Transfers-in process flow - part 1

 

An in-depth look at transfers in

 

Transfers-in process flow - part 2

 

 

User initiates domain transfer request—The request is filed by an authorized OpenSRS Reseller via the OpenSRS API or Resellers Control Panel, which qualifies Tucows as the Gaining Registrar. The system creates a transfer record in the OpenSRS database and stores the information provided by the user. The user is bound, by the Reseller, to the OpenSRS Registration Agreement appropriate to the domain as part of this process.

Note: The user in question may be the Registrant, or someone authorized to act on their behalf (i.e. Reseller, domain's technical contact, etc.).

OpenSRS retrieves WHOIS output from the Losing Registrar—The OpenSRS system performs an automated WHOIS query against the WHOIS server of the Losing Registrar to retrieve the WHOIS record for the domain being transferred. This data is then stored in the OpenSRS database, along with the original transfer request data. Once stored, the output becomes a permanent record of the status of the domain at the time the transfer request was filed. This ensures continuity of sponsorship, contact details, expiration and name service.

Is administrative contact email address valid?—In order to contact the administrative contact to verify the transfer request, the email address must be acquired. The OpenSRS system finds the email address for the administrative contact by querying the WHOIS output of the Losing Registrar. If OpenSRS cannot determine the email address of the admin contact (e.g. it is missing, does not contain valid characters, or does not adhere to the RFC-dictated format for an Internet email address), the transfer request is placed into a holding queue for processing by OpenSRS staff. If the email address is available from the WHOIS output and is properly formed, the system emails the administrative contact with instructions for approving or declining the transfer request.

Transfer request placed in holding queue—If the email address of the administrative contact is not valid, the transfer request is placed into a holding queue to be manually processed by OpenSRS staff. The information captured from the WHOIS database of the Losing Registrar is used to find the correct email address of the administrative contact. If OpenSRS staff can determine the correct email address of the domain's admin contact, they add it to the transfer request and resubmit the transfer for automated processing. At this point, the procedure continues. If the correct email address for the administrative contact cannot be determined, the transfer is cancelled.

Authorization email sent to admin contact—OpenSRS sends an email to the administrative contact as specified by the WHOIS output of the Losing Registrar. This is a Reseller-customizable message for ccTLDs, but it is not customizable for gTLDs, as ICANN has mandated standardized text for this email. This mandatory email must be sent for every transfer request.

OpenSRS logs the sending of this email by making an entry in the domain notes table, indicating the address to which the email was sent, as well as the date and time the email was sent.

If the email sent to the admin contact bounces, OpenSRS automatically forwards the bounced email to the domain's technical contact.

Administrative contact responds?—The domain's admin contact is given five days to respond to the instructions in the email sent by OpenSRS. These instructions include the URL that the admin contact must visit to accept or decline the transfer request. If the admin contact does not visit the URL within five days, OpenSRS will not undertake the transfer request, as the appropriate authorization has not been obtained.

If the admin contact does not respond at the specified URL within five days, the transfer request is considered to have timed out and OpenSRS notifies the Gaining Reseller by email. OpenSRS then logs the sending of this email by making an entry in the domain notes table, including the date and time the email was sent. Bounces of this email are automatically forwarded by OpenSRS to data_admin@opensrs.org, where OpenSRS staff manages them.

In addition, OpenSRS notifies the Registrant by email, informing them that the transfer has timed out. OpenSRS logs the sending of this email by making an entry in the domain notes table, indicating the date and time the email was sent. Bounces of this email are sent to the Gaining Reseller.

Administrative contact visits website—The admin contact receives an email directing them to a URL where they can approve or decline the transfer request.

Transfer approved?—This is a decision point during which the Registrant or administrative contact for the domain must indicate whether they wish to undertake the transfer request. One of two results is possible:

  • Administrative contact declines authorization—The administrative contact visits the URL listed in the email sent by OpenSRS. By clicking the  button, the administrative contact is explicitly denying OpenSRS the authorization to continue with the transfer.
    OpenSRS notifies the Gaining Reseller by email, informing them that the transfer has been declined. OpenSRS logs the sending of this email by making  entry in the domain notes table, indicating the date and time the email was sent. Bounces of this email are sent to data_admin@opensrs.org, where OpenSRS staff handles them.
    In addition, OpenSRS notifies the Registrant by email, informing them that the transfer has been rejected. OpenSRS logs the sending of this email by making an entry in the domain notes table, including the date and time the email was sent. Bounces of this email are sent to the domain's technical contact.
  • Send transfer failed email—When a transfer request is explicitly denied, it is not forwarded to the Registry for processing as a legitimate transfer. OpenSRS notifies the Gaining Reseller by email, informing them that the transfer has failed, and the reason for the rejection. OpenSRS logs the sending of this email by making an entry in the domain notes table, indicating the date and time the email was sent. Bounces of this email are sent to data_admin@opensrs.org, where OpenSRS staff handles them.
    In addition, OpenSRS notifies the Registrant by email, informing them that the transfer has failed and providing the reason for the failure. OpenSRS logs the sending of the email by making an entry in the domain notes table, including the date and time the email was sent. Bounces of this email are sent to the email address of the domain's technical contact.

OR

  • Administrative contact verifies transfer request—If the administrative contact visits the URL listed in the email they were sent by OpenSRS, and clicks the button, OpenSRS can forward the transfer request to the Registry, because the Registrant (or another authorized entity) has explicitly authorized the transfer.
    OpenSRS notifies the Gaining Reseller by email, informing them that the transfer has been approved. OpenSRS logs the sending of this email by making an entry in the domain notes table, indicating the date and time the email was sent. Bounces of this email are sent to data_admin@opensrs.org, where OpenSRS staff handles them.
    In addition, OpenSRS notifies the Registrant by email, informing them that the transfer has been approved. OpenSRS logs the sending of this email by making an entry in the domain notes table, indicating the date and time the email was sent. Bounces of this email are sent to the Gaining Reseller.

Note: Regardless of whether the admin contact approves, declines, or does nothing with the transfer request, the status of the transaction is stored in the OpenSRS database. The saved elements include owner confirm date, owner confirm IP address, owner confirm phone, and Registry request date. These elements are stored with the original transfer-request record, so they can be referenced should there be a dispute over the transfer.

Transfer request sent to Registry—OpenSRS sends the transfer request to the appropriate registry, using the appropriate protocol.

Registry notifies the Losing Registrar—Registry sends a notification to the Losing Registrar that a request was made to transfer the domain away.

Losing Registrar checks domain—Upon receipt of the Registry's transfer notification, the Losing Registrar ensures that the domain does not fall within one of the following categories:

  • Evidence of Fraud
  • UDRP action
  • Court order by a court of competent jurisdiction
  • Reasonable dispute over the identity of the registered name holder or administrative contact
  • No payment for the previous registration period (including credit card charge-backs), if the domain name is past its expiration date, or for previous or current registration periods if the domain has not yet expired. In all cases the domain must be put into Registrar Hold status by the Registrar of record prior to the denial of transfer.
  • Express written objection to the transfer from the transfer contact (e.g. email, fax, paper document or other processes by which the transfer contact has expressly and voluntarily objected through opt-in means).
  • The domain was already in Locked status, provided that the Registrar provides an accessible and reasonable means for the Registrant to remove the lock status.
  • The domain name is in the first 60 days of an initial registration period.
  • The domain name is within 60 days (or a lesser period to be determined) after being transferred (apart from being transferred back to the original Registrar in cases where both Registrars so agree and/or where a decision in the dispute resolution process so directs).

Attribute check passed?—The Losing Registrar conducts the attribute check described above. If the check passes, the transfer is allowed. If it fails, the Losing Registrar denies the transfer request.

Registry transfers domain—If the specified domain passes the attribute check, the Losing Registrar must authorize the transfer request from the Registry, or do nothing.

No response from a Losing Registrar after five days results in an automatic acknowledgement of the transfer. The Registry charges the Registrar or the domain and communicates back to the Gaining Registrar that the transfer is complete.

Notify Registrant—OpenSRS notifies the Registrant of record and the Gaining Reseller via email that the transfer was successful.

OpenSRS logs that these emails were sent by making an entry in the domain notes table, indicating the date and time the email was sent. Any bounces of the email sent to the Reseller are automatically forwarded to OpenSRS to data_admin@opensrs.org, where OpenSRS staff handles them.

Any bounces of the email sent to the Registrant are automatically sent to the email address of the domain's technical contact.

Losing Registrar denies transfer—If the domain does not pass the attribute check, the Losing Registrar declines the transfer request. The Losing Registrar notifies the Registry that they've denied the transfer. The Losing Registrar must also notify the Gaining Registrar and the Registrant.

Registry cancels transfer—Upon receipt of a transfer denial, the Registry cancels the transfer request and notifies the Gaining Registrar that the transfer request was denied.

OpenSRS receives email within 15 days?—When the Registry cancels the transfer request, they send an email notification to the Registrar that would have been the Gaining Registrar. OpenSRS monitors for this email, and when received, records the transfer as having failed. (This period is 21 days for .BE, .EU, and .UK.)

Transfer times out—When the Registry cancels the transfer request, it sends an email notification to the Registrar that would have been the Gaining Registrar. OpenSRS checks for this email, and if no email is received from the Registry within 15 days (21 days for .BE, .EU, and .UK) of a transfer request being made, the system assumes the transfer has failed.

Send transfer failed email—When a transfer request is cancelled by the Registry, OpenSRS notifies the Gaining Reseller by email, informing them that the transfer has failed, and the reason for the rejection. OpenSRS logs the sending of this email by making an entry in the domain notes table, indicating the date and time the email was sent. Bounces of this email are sent to data_admin@opensrs.org, where OpenSRS staff handles them.

In addition, OpenSRS notifies the Registrant by email, informing them that the transfer has failed and the providing the reason for the failure. OpenSRS logs the sending of the email by making an entry in the domain notes table, including the date and time the email was sent. Bounces of this email are sent to the email address of the domain's technical contact.

Transfers away from your account

With this type of transfer, a domain is moving to another Reseller and/or another Registrar. In this scenario, the end-user requests the change with a Reseller of their choice and the Gaining Registrar initiates the transfer on their behalf.

OpenSRS receives notification that a transfer-away from one of its Resellers has been initiated. The system checks to see if the domain was registered or transferred in the last 60 days. If so, the transfer request is denied before any further processing, and the Registry is notified.

The Losing Reseller is notified that the transfer request has been received, and the OpenSRS system sends an email to the domain's admin contact, directing them to a website where they can approve or decline the request.

Upon approval, the transfer is processed:

  • The Registry is informed of the change.
  • All involved parties are notified that the transfer was successful.
  • The domain is moved by the Registry.
  • The WHOIS info is updated.
  • The domain is marked Deleted Transferred in the Losing Reseller's database.

If the admin contact declines the transfer, the system cancels the transaction:

  • Acknowledgement of the refusal is shown on the website.
  • The domain notes are updated.
  • All involved parties are notified that the transfer was declined.

If the admin contact does not respond to the email within five days:

  • Registry automatically acknowledges the transfer
  • All involved parties are notified that the transfer was successful
  • The domain is moved by the Registry
  • The WHOIS info is updated
  • The domain is marked Deleted Transferred in the Losing Reseller's database

OpenSRS has a Transfer Winback feature that can help with customer retention in the case of transfers away from your account. To take advantage of this feature, it must be enabled via the RWI.

An in-depth look at transfers away

This section of the document traces the transfer-away process from a technical, system-oriented point of view.

Transfers away process flow

 

An in-depth look at transfers away

 

OpenSRS receives transfer notification—The Registry sends an email notification to the Losing Registrar that a transfer request is in process. OpenSRS automatically receives this email and parses its contents. Receipt of this email begins the transfer-away procedure in which Tucows is the Losing Registrar.

Transfers for gTLDs begin with the Registrant making the request with the Gaining Registrar, who sends the request to the Registry, who in turn sends the request to the Losing Registrar. If the domain is locked, the Registry stops the request and sends a transfer-failed message back to the attempting Gaining Registrar.

Is it an OpenSRS domain?—OpenSRS validates that the domain referred to in the Registry notification email is actually sponsored by OpenSRS. If it is, processing continues; if not, the email is ignored.

Retrieve Registrant contact information—Once OpenSRS has determined that the domain being transferred is OpenSRS-sponsored, the system queries the database for the contact information of the Registrant, including the email address.

Domain transferred in the last 60 days?—OpenSRS checks if the domain was previously transferred within the last 60 days. If this is the case, the system denies the request; otherwise, the transfer-away process continues.

Deny transfer—OpenSRS sends a transfer denial to the Registry in the event that the domain was previously transferred in the last 60 days. A message is sent to the Registrant for the domain and to the attempting Gaining Registrar, indicating that the transfer was denied and why.

OpenSRS logs the sending of this email by making an entry in the domain notes table, indicating the date and time the email was sent. Any bounces of this email are automatically forwarded by the OpenSRS system to the technical contact for the domain.

Send winback email—If the Losing Reseller has enabled winbackmessages, OpenSRS sends the Losing Reseller an email stating that a request was made to transfer a domain away from them.

Send confirmation email—OpenSRS sends emails to the Registrant and the Losing Reseller, notifying them that a request exists to transfer their domain to another Registrar. The email sent to the Registrant contains instructions for approving or declining the request.

OpenSRS automatically forwards bounces of this email to the technical contact email address of the Losing Reseller. OpenSRS logs the sending of this email by making a record in the domain notes table.

Registrant visits website?—Upon receiving the confirmation email, the Registrant can choose to visit the URL provided and approve or decline the transfer. If the Registrant chooses to do nothing, the opportunity to decline the transfer times out, and the Registry automatically completes the transfer after five days.

Registry transfers domain—The Registry completes the transfer request and notifies the Gaining Registrar. This occurs either as a result of the Losing Registrar's time out (failure to respond within five days), or because of the Losing Registrar's explicit approval of the transfer.

OpenSRS monitors Registry for transfer completion—Once a transfer away from OpenSRS is in progress, OpenSRS monitors the Registry to determine at which point OpenSRS has lost the domain to the Gaining Registrar.

Once the transfer has been completed, the domain is marked as Deleted Transferred in OpenSRS. This is necessary because, if the Registrant does not explicitly approve or decline the transfer request, the request times out at the Registry level and the Registry completes the transfer to the Gaining Registrar without notifying OpenSRS.

Once the transfer is determined, OpenSRS sends an email to the Registrant, informing them that the transfer has concluded and that Tucows is no longer the Registrar of record for the domain. OpenSRS logs the sending of this email by making an entry in the domain notes table, indicating the date and time the email was sent. Bounces of this email are automatically forwarded by OpenSRS to the domain's technical contact.

Transfer approved?—Upon receiving the confirmation email, the Registrant visits the URL provided and approves or declines the transfer by clicking the appropriate button on the transfer approval page.

Send approval to Registry—OpenSRS acknowledges the transfer by sending an approval of the request to the Registry. OpenSRS logs that the approval was issued by making a record in the domain notes table.

OpenSRS informs the Losing Reseller that the transfer was approved by the Registrant, and logs the sending of this email by making an entry in the domain notes table, indicating the date and time the email was sent. Bounces of this email are automatically forwarded by OpenSRS to data_admin@opensrs.org, where OpenSRS staff handles them.

Deny transfer—If the Registrant explicitly denies the transfer request, OpenSRS sends a transfer-denial command to the Registry, and makes an entry in the domain notes table that the transfer was denied.

OpenSRS notifies the Losing Reseller that the domain will not be transferred, and logs the sending of this email by making an entry in the domain notes table, indicating the date and time the email was sent. Any bounces of this email are automatically forwarded by the OpenSRS system to data_admin@opensrs.org, where OpenSRS staff handles them.

OpenSRS also sends an email to the Registrant that the transfer was declined, and logs the sending of the email by making an entry in the domain notes table, indicating the date and time the email was sent. Any bounces of this email are forwarded by OpenSRS to the domain's technical contact.

Registry cancels transfer request and notifies the Gaining Registrar—The Registry, upon receiving a denial of transfer command from the Losing Registrar, cancels the transfer request and notifies the Gaining Registrar.

Viewing WHOIS information prior to a transfer in

To view the WHOIS information for a domain prior to its being transferred-in to OpenSRS

  1. In the RWI, click View Orders in Progress in the View Orders section. The Orders in Progress page opens.
  2. From the Domain Name column, click the domain for which you want to check WHOIS information. The value in the Type column for that domain must be Transfer.
  3. From the Domain Order Info page, click View WHOIS Prior To Transfer In.
    A page listing the WHOIS information for that domain opens.

Checking the status of domain transfers

Resellers can monitor the stages of a transfer using the API or in the Resellers Control Panel.

Using the API

Resellers can use a client-side command to query the status of a transfer order. This is useful for Resellers who handle all OpenSRS transactions through a secondary system, as it can report on the status of a transfer order and log the result in the Reseller's proprietary database. For complete details on how to use this feature, please consult the OpenSRS API Specification.

Using the Resellers Control Panel

Viewing any domain using the filter in the Domains section of the Control Panel allows you to monitor the status of inbound and outbound transfers (again, you may need to disable any current filters in order to view domains in a status other than Active).

  • Waiting Owner Approval—At this point, the admin contact for the domain name in question has been contacted, but has not yet approved the transfer via the online form. This screen shows both Registrar to Registrar and Reseller to Reseller transfers into your account.
  • Waiting Registrar Review—This status is used when the domain requires manual review by OpenSRS. This can be because the administrative contact's email address could not automatically be parsed from the Losing Registrar's WHOIS server, or it is subject to an ICANN transfer spot-check. The error sent to the Reseller would detail the condition. No action on the part of the Reseller is necessary.
  • Waiting Registry Approval—OpenSRS has submitted the request to the Losing Registrar, and we are waiting for the Losing Registrar to approve it so the Registry can update the WHOIS information. This screen shows Registrar to Registrar transfers only, as Reseller to Reseller transfers do not require Registry approval.
  • Transfers Away—Domains in this status are in the process of transferring away from OpenSRS, and the admin contact for the domain name has already been sent an email requesting their response. Resellers can resend the confirmation message to the end-user so they can explicitly give their intention. This is useful for end-users who have mistakenly deleted a transfer request and wish to decline it before the Registry automatically transfers the domain at the end of the five-day window.

Searching for transfers

To review all transfers of a particular status, use the filter in the Domains section of the Resellers Control Panel.

To see which domains are in the process of being transferred-away from your Reseller profile, click Advanced Filtering and choose from the Outgoing status options and any other specifics you wish.  Then click Apply.

In the case of pending transfer orders, you are also given the option to resend the transfer-confirmation email to the domain owner.

Resubmitting transfers

Resubmitting a transfer cancels out the original transfer order (if it is still in progress) and creates a new one using the same information.

If a Reseller submits a transfer request, but the current admin email address is not valid, the invalid email address is retained in the transfer order until it's expired or cancelled. After the Registrant updates their address to a valid one, you can resubmit the transfer in order to pick up the new, valid email address.

To resubmit a transfer

  1. In the RWI, click Waiting Owner Approval in the Transfers section.
  2. Click the domain for which you want to resubmit the transfer.
  3. Click Transfer Management and then click Resubmit transfer request.

Resellers can also resubmit a transfer order that failed because:

  • It timed-out waiting for admin approval.
  • It was declined by the Losing Registrar.
  • The order was cancelled by Reseller waiting for admin approval.

The feature can not be used to resubmit orders that were cancelled by the administrative contact, because such a cancellation explicitly implies that the transfer is not wanted.

It is possible that the admin contact may want to resubmit a cancelled order; in these cases, the Reseller submits a new transfer order.

The domain's administrative contact needs to approve the resubmitted order; this step cannot be skipped, even if they granted their approval the first time.

To resubmit a declined order, click View Declined Orders in the View Orders section of the RWI, find the transfer order to resubmit, and open it by clicking the domain name. Once you've opened the specific failed order, scroll down to the bottom, choose Transfer Now from the drop-down menu, and click Submit.

Note: This feature only works for .COM/.NET/.ORG and .CA transfers.

Forcing the completion of registrar transfers

It's possible that the Registry may show Tucows as the Registrar for a particular domain you are transferring to OpenSRS, but our system shows the order as Pending RegistryApproval. Resellers can force the OpenSRS system to query the Registry to see whether the Registrar has been set to Tucows. If we find that the Registrar is currently Tucows, we will complete the order immediately.

To check the status of a transfer order that is Pending Registry Approval, click the domain name from the Waiting Registry Approval view, scroll down to the bottom of the page, and click Transfer Management, then Check Transfer Status.

Cancelling transfers

Resellers can cancel transfer-in orders that are Pending Owner Approval.

To cancel a transfer, locate the transfer you want to cancel using the filter in Domains (order status must be Pending Owner Approval).  Click the domain name, and click Cancel at the bottom of the page.

Customizing the transfer approval page

The transfer approval page is where the current admin contact for the domain is directed to approve or decline the domain's transfer to the OpenSRS system. There is a default message on this page, instructing the admin contact on how to proceed. Resellers can also customize this page with a further message and a logo, if they so desire.

To customize the transfer approval page, in the Messaging section of the RWI, click Transfer Messaging, and then click Customize Web Transfer Page.

Note: Resellers using this option should be very sure that they understand how the feature works, and should test the feature thoroughly before processing live transfers. This is not a feature that works as soon as you provide a URL. Careful programming is required before you enable a custom transfer URL; please consult the OpenSRS API Specification for complete instructions.

Registrar transfer approval interface

Once a transfer has been submitted by a Reseller, OpenSRS emails the current admin contact with instructions on how to act on the request. This email contains a unique transfer key, which has a lifespan of five days and is used to log into the transfer interface. The appearance of the transfer interface depends on whether it's an EPP or RRP Registry, or if it's a batch transfer.

All three types of transfers have common elements:

  • The Losing Registrar is identified.
  • The Registrant can review what WHOIS changes will be made after the transfer is complete.
  • A link to a domain transfer and registration agreement. There is no blanket contract for all Registries, so the linked agreement changes depending on the Registry involved in the transfer.

To complete the request, the Registrant either approves or declines the transfer and provides a daytime phone number.

Once the Registrant completes the transfer request, the system displays an authorization form, which they can print out for their records. This contains all pertinent information regarding the authorization of the transfer.

Registry errors

When performing certain actions on a domain, the Registry for that domain may return the following errors. OpenSRS does not issue these messages and cannot control when they are returned.

552–Domain status doesn't allow for operation

This can occur if:

  • The transfer is a Reseller to Reseller or Registrar to Registrar transfer for a gTLD or .US domain and the domain is not yet 60 days old.
  • Existing Registrar has the name locked for either non-payment or at the end-user's request.
  • Requesting party needs to contact existing Registrar to resolve.
  • Domain name is in dispute.
  • The name has been deleted.

557–Name server locked

Extracted from the RRP spec:

An attempt has been made to modify or delete a nameserver that is hosting a TLD in the root zone. Modifications to the root zone can only be made with the approval of the U.S. Department of Commerce and IANA, so if the Registrar absolutely needs to modify or delete such a nameserver, the action needs to be coordinated through the registry operator using an out-of-band communications channel.

Transfer Winback

This is an opt-in process by which a Losing Reseller is notified of a transfer-away request, giving them an opportunity to retain the customer. Winback, when enabled, introduces a 24-hour delay into the transfer process giving you a day to contact the customer and attempt to win their business back.

Transfer Winback process

  1. OpenSRS sends the Reseller an email message (example message below) to notify them of the transfer request. This message is sent within the first 24 hours after OpenSRS received the request to transfer away.
  2. OpenSRS sends the Registrant a transfer-away confirmation request. This message is sent 24 hours after OpenSRS received the request to transfer away.
  3. If the Registrant does not explicitly refuse the transfer-away request, the transfer will go through.

Activating Transfer Winback

Note: This feature is only available through the RWI.

To activate transfer winback

  1. In the Messaging section of the RWI, click Transfer Messaging.
  2. In the RSP Messaging section, click Transfers Away From Your Account,  set Enable Transfer Winbacks to Yes, and then click Save Changes.
Activating Transfer Winback

 

This will enable both the Winback email notifications and also introduce the 24-hour delay into the transfer process. As with the transfer notifications, you configure the email address that winback notifications are sent to in the Transfer Messages Destination(s) section of the Reseller Contact Information accessible from the Profile Management area of the front page of the RWI.

Customer communication

When you receive the transfer or winback notification, you have an opportunity to reach out to your customer via email or even with a phone call (assuming you have that information).

Something as simple as an email asking the customer if there is anything you can do for them, with a specific point of contact provided to the customer could be enough to introduce some "second thoughts" into that customer's mind. Perhaps there was a support issue that the customer couldn't get solved, or perhaps the customer simply didn't know where to go for help. Offer help with a clear way for the customer to get in touch with you.

One other important consideration is to make sure that the customer is aware that they are transferring their domain away from you. Some of your customers will initiate a transfer without realizing the implications of what they are doing. A simple email or call asking the customer if they intended to transfer the domain away from you might be an eye opener for the customer who may have had no idea that whatever they did was causing a domain transfer.

Sample Reseller Winback message

From: transfers@opensrs.org
To: Reseller transfer winback email notification
Subject: Transfer Away Notice – Winback
Dear {Reseller name}
We have received a transfer away notice for {domain}. We will send the Registrant a transfer confirmation message within 24 hours and auto-approve this transfer unless explicitly rejected by the Registrant.
The Domain information is as follows:
Owner/Admin/Billing/Tech contact information
Registration data (registered date, expiry date)
Domain flags/statuses (reglock, lock, auto renew)
NameserversPlease use this time to confirm this Registrant's intention to transfer and if possible attempt to retain this customer.
Regards,
Tucows/OpenSRS

 

Transfer and end-user notifications

The email messages sent to the parties involved in a transfer are a crucial part of the transfer process. Some of these messages are Reseller notifications, and some are End-user notifications. The OpenSRS system allows you to specify where the Reseller notifications are sent, and allows you to edit some and preview all end-user notifications.

Reseller Notifications

OpenSRS allows you to customize which messages you would like to receive, as well as where and how you would like to receive those messages. The following sections describe the features that enable you to control transfers-in and transfers-away notification messages:

  • Transfer message destination(s)
  • Transfers to your account
  • Transfers away from your account

Transfer Message Destination(s)

To specify the email addresses to which transfer-status notifications are sent, click Reseller Contact Information in the RWI, and edit the Transfer Messages Destination(s) section. This section also allows you to activate the option to send the new admin contact a notification if the transfer bounces.

 

Transfer Message Destination(s)

Also note the End User Transfers Bounce-Forwarding E-Mail Address; use this feature to capture transfer messages that our system sends to your clients using incorrect email addresses. This helps you identify situations where the administrative contact for a given domain needs to be updated before a transfer will succeed.

Note: Your message template setting for bounced email messages overrides the above setting.

To check or edit your message template settings:

In the Resellers Control Panel:

  1. Choose Account Settings from the drop-down menu at the top right.  Then, click Account Messaging. The page listing message templates opens.
  2. From either the Transfers IN Messaging or Transfers AWAY Messaging sections, click the title of the message that you want to edit.
  3. In the template for the message, make sure that the Bounce-To field either contains the variable {{rsp_bounce_email}} or the exact email address where notifications of bounced messages should be sent.

In the RWI:

  1. Click View Message Templates in the Messaging section of the RWI. The page listing message templates opens.
  2. From either the Transfers IN Messaging or Transfers AWAY Messaging sections, click the Editlink beside the message that you want to edit.
  3. In the template for the message, make sure that the Bounce-To field either contains the variable {{rsp_bounce_email}} or the exact email address where notifications of bounced messages should be sent.

Either the variable {{rsp_bounce_email}} or the exact email address must be in the Bounce-To field, otherwise the notification will not be sent, even if you specified an email address in the End User Transfers Bounce-Forwarding E-Mail Address field.

If the variable {{rsp_bounce_email}} is entered in the Bounce-To field, the email address you specified in the End User Transfers Bounce-Forwarding E-Mail Address field will receive notifications of bounced messages.

If you typed an email address in the Bounce-To field, that email address will receive notifications of bounced messages, regardless of what you entered in the End User Transfers Bounce-Forwarding E-Mail Address field.

Transfers to your account

To access these options, in the RWI, click Transfer Management, then RSP Messaging, and thenTransfers To Your Account.

Transfers to your account
  • Receive email messages when a domain's admin contact either accepts or rejects a transfer to you—Enable this feature to receive an email at your specified transfer contact email address when a domain's administrative contact either approves or declines a transfer to your account. This setting works for Reseller and Registrar transfers. 
    • Default Setting: Off
    • Customizable: No
  • Receive email messages when a transfer times out—Enable this feature to receive an email at your specified transfer contact email address when a transfer order times out. This setting works for Reseller and Registrar transfers. 
    • Default Setting: On
    • Customizable: No

Transfers-away from your account

To access these options, in the RWI, click Transfer Management, then RSP Messaging, and thenTransfers Away From Your Account.

Transfers-away from your account
  • Receive email messages when OpenSRS receives a transfer-away—Enable this feature to receive an email (at your transfer contact email address) when OpenSRS receives a transfer-away request. This setting works for Reseller and Registrar transfers. 
    • Default Setting: Off
    • Customizable: No
  • Receive email messages when an admin contact either accepts or rejects a transfer-away request—Enable this feature to receive an email (at your transfer contact email address) when the domain's administrative contact accepts or declines a transfer-away from your account.  This setting works for Reseller and Registrar transfers. 
    • Default Setting: Off
    • Customizable: No
  • Receive email messages when a transfer-away request was auto acknowledged—Enable this feature to receive an email (at your transfer contact email address) when the domain's admin contact does not respond to the transfer-away request and the domain is automatically moved away by the Registry. 
    • Default Setting: Off
    • Customizable: No

End-user notifications

The end-user messaging section of the OpenSRS system contains all the messages necessary to communicate to end-users at each step of the transfer process. OpenSRS also supports all Registry-imposed restrictions in terms of content.

In the Resellers Control Panel, if the message is customizable, the customizable fields will be editable.  In the RWI, an Edit button appears at the bottom of the message. Clicking this button allows you to make changes.

Transfers-in initial authorization

There are four versions of the initial authorization email, each supporting a different type of transfer:

  • Initial authorization for Registrar transfer (gTLDs)
  • Initial authorization for batch Registrar transfer (gTLDs)
  • Initial authorization for Reseller to Reseller transfer (all TLDs)
  • Initial authorization for batch Reseller to Reseller transfer (all TLDs)

This email is sent to a domain's administrative contact once the OpenSRS system has accepted an order to transfer a domain into your account. The initial authorization email is mandatory, regardless of the type of transfer; there is no option to disable it.

OpenSRS offers pre-translated text that can be added to the initial authorization form for gTLD transfers-in and transfers-away.  In the Resellers Control Panel, these options, if available, will appear in the selections for each item in Account Settings > Account Messaging.  The translations will appear in the order in which you select them.  In the RWI, click View Message Templates in the Messaging section. If there are translations available for a particular message in the list, a Manage Translations link appears as shown below.

Transfer notification courtesy message

If the admin contact on the transfer order is different than the one currently on the domain, the transfer order contact can be sent a courtesy message letting them know they should check the email account of the domain's current admin contact for the transfer instructions.

  • Default Setting: Off

Other transfer-in messages

The following end-user messages relate to all types of transfers-in, and can be edited in the RWI under Messaging > Transfer Messaging > All other Transfer IN Messaging.

  • Transfer Acceptance Message Customization For Registrar Transfers—This message is sent to admin contacts when they approve a Registrar transfer.
  • Transfer Acceptance Message Customization For Reseller to Reseller Transfers—This message is sent to admin contacts when they approve a transfer to another Reseller.
  • Admin Contact Rejection Acknowledgement Message Customization—This section allows Resellers to customize the message sent to Registrants who reject a transfer. This message works for both Reseller and Registrar transfers.
  • Registry Rejection Acknowledgement Message Customization—When the Losing Registrar rejects a transfer request, a message can be sent to the admin contact. Only the Registrar that rejected the request can explain why it was rejected, so you may want to list common transfer-away issues here and explain how they can be resolved.
  • Transfer Successfully Completed Message Customization—When a transfer completes, a message can be sent to inform the admin contact that the transfer has completed.
  • Transfer Timed Out Waiting for Owner Approval—When a transfer request times out because the owner failed to approve the request, a message can be sent to the admin contact to inform them that the transfer timed-out and did not complete.

Transfers-away confirmation

As a matter of policy, this email is sent to all Registrants as soon as OpenSRS receives a request to transfer a domain to another Registrar. This message is mandatory, and applies only to Registrar to Registrar transfers. There are two versions of the message; one to support ICANN's mandated text for gTLDs, and another used to support ccTLDs.

Other transfer-away messages

  • Transfer Away Acknowledgement Message - Accepted—Use this message to confirm a Registrant's acceptance of a transfer-away from your profile.
  • Transfer Away Acknowledgement Message - Declined—Use this message to confirm a Registrant's refusal of a transfer away from your profile.
  • Transfer Away Auto Acknowledgement Message—This feature allows a message to be sent to the admin contact after there has been no response to the transfer request for five days, when the Registry enforces the ICANN transfer-away policy and moves the domain to the Gaining Registrar.
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