Important Upcoming Changes at the (.FI) Finnish Registry, FICORA

As of September 5th, 2016 the (.FI) Finnish registry, FICORA, will be adopting a widely accepted registry-registrar model.  Let’s look at what this means for corporate domain portfolios and what, if anything, domain owners need to do.

As part of the registry-registrar model, the .FI registry will no longer be handling direct customer care.  Meaning, all day-to-day domain related transactions will need to be handled by the designated domain registrar.  This is a substantial change and will streamline the processes for managing .FI domains.

One policy change that will impact .FI domain owners is the current requirement of local presence in Finland. As of September 5th this requirement will be no longer be in effect.  Most MarkMonitor clients will likely want to update their .FI domains to be consistent with their domain whois policy.  Coordinating the changes with your Client Services Manager should be a quick and easy process.

Another welcome change will be the implementation of the standard EPP protocol.  In other words, the registry will be taking down the web service interface and all accredited registrars will need to be connected to the registry via the EPP protocol. This connection will make managing .FI domains automated.  Registrations, renewals, transfers, name server changes, contact changes will all be possible directly from the MarkMonitor Domain Management portal.

There are a number of other changes to be mindful of.  The registry will no longer require configured name servers as part of the registration process and the parking of a site will be permissible.  Furthermore, under the current regulations, reselling .FI domains is prohibited; however, this too will no longer be in effect.

These reformations are a welcome change and it will truly streamline the management of .FI domains.  Having said that, deregulations such as the removal of the local presence requirement and the ability to resell domains could have some consequences.  It is fair to assume that cybersquatting will be on the rise and domains will be purchased with the mindset of reselling for a profit.

The new policies will allow the Finnish registry more liberty and a streamlined process for handling cybersquatters, trademark and brand name infringements etc.  Only time will tell how such liberties will be exercised and whether they will provide meaningful resolutions.  I would caution clients on relying solely on such mechanisms and skipping defensive registrations – particularly since there is no historical precedence.

My advice to MarkMonitor clients includes:

If your company has been held back from registering .FI domains due to the local presence restrictions, this is the time to consider securing domains based on your established domain strategy.  Also, consider the fact that Finland has 91.2% internet user penetration and is ranked 8th out of 179 countries.  In comparison, the US lags 10 points behind at 84.2% internet user penetration.  If your domain portfolio already includes .FI domains, consider taking a closer look at your brand names and trademarks to see if other variations should be registered. Moreover, any domains deemed as high profile should be considered for the new registry lock service.  Finally, consider if and when you would need to update the whois on your current .FI domains.  Important to note, in preparation for the switch on September 5th at 10:00 (eest) FICORA’s web service interface will be disabled on September 2nd at 16:15 (eest).  Any name server changes should be planned for accordingly.