Does This Domain Taste Funny To You?

Fri, 2008-01-11 00:59

The overwhelming number of domains registered every day will never add anything positive to the Internet. They will be used to host a script which will in turn list a large number of links on the home page. What's more, most of these domains will immediately be dropped during the five day grace period and the party registering the domain will pay no money at all. This is known as domain tasting. It is allowed to happen because the domains that do bring enough clicks on the displayed links to make a profit are picked up for a full year. The folks who make the rules earn a small profit on every domain registered.

I have a nice set of graphs as an example for those of you who are into that sort of thing.

There is also such a thing as domain tasting taken to the extreme, labeled domain kiting by GoDaddy's Bob Parsons. He blogged extensively about domain kiting on May 10, 2006, June 21, 2006 and June 4, 2007. What it boils down to is the registering party uses really good timing to tie up the domain for another 5 days still at no cost. They do this over and over.

The good news is that ICANN, or the people who make the rules for the .com and .net TLDs, is accepting comments about domain tasting until January 28, 2008. Please head on over there and voice your opinion.

I think domain tasting should be eliminated, or at least restricted. A small restocking fee would cut down much of the abuse. Domains used solely for advertising do not contribute to the Internet as a whole. It does cause major problems for folks who accidentally let their domain registrations lapse. Tasters tend to grab up all expiring domains, and if the former website got a fair amount of traffic the new owners would be likely to hang on to the domain after the grace period, or even demand high prices for it's return.

In related news, NetSol was recently accused of front-running, a practice similar to domain tasting. You can read a writeup at Mark Fulton's Dot Sauce, but basically NetSol was reserving every domain searched through it's server and releasing them after four days. The domains could still be registered by anyone, but only through NetSol. As far as I can tell they have stopped this practice. Domains searched at their website and reserved yesterday can still be purchased through them, but the page generated for that domain no longer says:

This Domain is Available - Get it Now!
600,000 domain names are registered daily! Don't delay; there's no guarantee that a domain name you see today will still be here tomorrow!
Buy a domain name as low as $19.99

but now reads:

This Site Is Under Construction and Coming Soon.
This Domain Is Registered with Network Solutions

A small but important change.

New searches do not seem to be reserved at all. This would have been a major problem had it continued, especially since NetSol charges many times over the going rate for domain registrations. If I am correct and this practice has been stopped, it is a positive sign that large companies will be kept in line.

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Never knew there were such

Sun, 2008-01-13 07:41
Leon's picture

Never knew there were such underhanded practices on the Internet. Heard about the NetSol thing. Since they couldn't adapt, they had to resort to such devious tactics. Pathetic.

It is sad

Sun, 2008-01-13 13:19

It is amazing what some people will do to spoil out pretty little playground here. Hopefully ICANN will decide to act for the greater good. I guess we will find out soon enough.

Underhanded Tactics

Mon, 2008-01-28 02:12
fugitive247's picture

Agreed, there's far too many unethical practices in regards to domains. In recent discussions with friends several of us have encountered yet another species of domain predator. These types are generally online acquaintances who attempt to capitalize on unique IDs possessing a modicum of marketable internet presence.

[ case in point ]

Now, what type of rat bastard pimps out their friends?!? Un-friggin'-believable... **sigh**

Those are called squatters

Mon, 2008-01-28 09:16

Yes, anyone with a memorable alias should consider it a trademark and protect it as much as possible. It goes right along with owning your content and identity. There will always be someone willing to profit from someone else's work.

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