Why do many of my contacts have "unknown" data?

This article describes the historic reasons why you may find contacts with "unknown" data in your account, for example:

  • an address that is "Unknown 1"
  • a zip code that is "0000 AA"
  • a city that is "Unknown"
  • a telephone number that is "+00 00 0000000"
  • an e-mail address that is ""

This normally only occurs in case of an SIDN bulk transfer, more precisely in the domain import process afterwards.

This article contains the following sections:

The historical context

In the original registry model, the contacts related to .nl domains contained a limited set of data:

  • The holder contact contained the legal name and address details, but not contact name (in case of a company), e-mail address of telephone number
  • The administrative and technical contact contained the contact name, e-mail address and telephone number, but no company name or address.

When SIDN switched to EPP in 2010, all existing contacts were mapped to new, full contact objects: EPP requires each contact to have name, address, e-mail and telephone data. Missing data was set to the "Unknown" values as cited at the beginning of this article.

Despite several voluntary attempts to get complete contacts, many older contacts still suffer from missing data. Over time, this will improve (by default new contacts will not face this issue), but even 8 years after the switch to EPP many incomplete contacts exist.

How to solve

After a bulk transfer, Openprovider gets these incomplete data in its systems. Rather than forcing you to provide all missing data, we import the data as is*. At any time that suits you, you can complete the data similar to any other contact update: through our control panel or API.

The most straight-forward way is to find the incomplete contacts by exporting your customer data to a spreadsheet and sort on the right columns. Alternatively, you can use our API to search for all contacts. Combine this with your own data sources and provide the completed data to Openprovider with a modify contact call.

* Our import algorithms use some smart techniques to combine several data sets into one single contact. For example, if a domain's owner and administrative contacts are most likely the same, we merge those contacts, taking the contact name, telephone number and e-mail address from the administrative contact and the company name and address from the owner contact.

How to prevent this from happening

The only way to prevent this from happening, is ensuring that the data at SIDN is complete before starting the bulk transfer.


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