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Results on the public survey regarding the access and publication of the AFNIC Whois database

Home > Observatory and resources > News > Results on the public survey regarding the access and publication of the AFNIC Whois database

The AFNIC has organised a public survey between Febuary 27th, 2007 and March 26th, 2007 on the theme of the AFNIC Whois database.

The results of this survey have allowed to evaluate the expectations of the different role-players in regards to data access and the possibility to offer value-added services related to the use of this data.

Number and nature contributions

17 contributions were received. 7 contributions out of these 17 came from registrars members of the AFNIC, representing 28% of the total of .fr domain names.
Some contributions came from domain holders of different TLDs.

Services reached by consensus

These contributions confirm clear-cut support for the following services:

a service for everyone (“offer 1”) that would meet the basic needs (check the availability of a domain name, contacts and holder identification…). This service would be free of charge, without any particular judicial framework or authentification. This service would integrate technical limitations and offer information under a restricted publishing format;
a service dedicated to registrars (“offer 2”) that would meet their operational and customer handling needs. This service would be within the membership convention framework and would not require any other obligation. This service would not be limited like the first offer but would exclusively concern the data linked to the portfolio of the registrar itself or on the data needed for .fr administrative procedures.

Divided opinions on new targeted services

Opinions are more divided in regards to opening advanced services (monitoring services, prospecting activities, …). These services stir up controversy and derserve a longer debate.

The contributions reveal very different views from which we learn the following elements:

For 52% of the participants, the AFNIC directly owns the Whois database, but for the 48% others, the association does not own it directly. On the other hand, its responsability in regards to the handling of the database is not denied. Nor is its duty to respect the legal constraints, especially those on personal data.

Purposes others than the ones listed in the public survey have been identified, especially the use for academic research, issue of registration titles and the fight against cybersquatting.

47% of the participants are in favor of the structure by services principle proposed by the AFNIC.

59% of the participants are in favor of the service for everyone (“offer 1”) as presented in the consultation. The creation of a simple availability tool (Yes/No answers) and tools limiting automated requests have been highlighted.

Information quoted as being essential besides the domain name are the domain’s holder and registrar as well as its DNS servers. Some participants offered to keep an administrative contact with public contact details, without the option of restricted publishing.

82% of participants think that the registrars should benefit from a total data access of the domains they handle, provided that an obligation not to resell the information be added in the convention.

60% of participants are not in favor of a service that would allow the access to the lists of .fr domain

If the decision is taken to open this kind of service, a judicial framework and a data use monitoring will be needed as well as matching sanctions if wrongdoings are noticed. No consensus has been reached for a specific form of service. Participants consider however that the transmissible data could be limited to the domain name, its holder and registrar as well as the DNS servers.

17% of participants are clearly in favor of closing the list of domain names registered in the last 30 days (including 2 registrars) while 6% wish to keep this list provided a contractual frame-work is given.


The results of this consultation as well as the opinions from the consultative committees of March 2007 will soon be examined by the AFNIC’s Board who will decide what the follow-up will be.

The AFNIC would like to thank all of the participants for the time they have given to this consultation.

You will find herein, the synthesis of the results as well as the complete text version of the received answers.
Download the complete results of the public consultation
(159 Ko) (in French only!)

About the AFNIC

(Association Française pour le Nommage Internet en Coopération)

Non-profit organization, the AFNIC is in charge of the administrative and technical management of the .fr (France) and .re (Reunion Island) Internet domain names.
The AFNIC brings together public and private members: representatives from the French government, Internet users and Internet Service Providers.
Further information.

About Afnic

Afnic is the acronym for Association Française pour le Nommage Internet en Coopération, the French Network Information Centre. The registry has been appointed by the French government to manage domain names under the .fr Top Level Domain. Afnic also manages the .re (Reunion Island), .pm (Saint-Pierre and Miquelon), .tf (French Southern and Antarctic Territories), .wf (Wallis and Futuna) and .yt (Mayotte) French Overseas TLDs.

In addition to managing French TLDs, Afnic’s role is part of a wider public interest mission, which is to contribute on a daily basis, thanks to the efforts of its teams and its members, to a secure and stable internet, open to innovation and in which the French internet community plays a leading role. As part of that mission, Afnic, a non-profit organization, has committed to devoting 11% of its Revenues from managing .fr Top Level Domain to actions of general interest, in particular by transferring €1.3 million each year to the Afnic Foundation for Digital Solidarity.
Afnic is also the back-end registry for the companies as well as local and regional authorities that have chosen to have their own TLD, such as .paris, .bzh, .alsace, .corsica, .mma, .ovh, .leclerc and .sncf.

Established in 1997 and based in Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, Afnic currently has nearly 90 employees.