Domain Tasting

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Recommendation: Avoid
Avoid.jpg
Summary: Registering domains in bulk and returning all "unprofitable" names before the AGP ends
Outcome: Abusive use of the AGP, unavailable domain names
Addressed by ICANN Policy: Y
Addressed by Legislation: N
Related to: Domain Kiting, AGP, AGP Limits Policy

Domain Tasting involves registering domain names (often in bulk) and subsequently using the 5 day ICANN add grace period (AGP) to return names that do not have high enough traffic to offset their registration cost.[1][2] This practice is similar to Domain Kiting.

Public Perception

The public perception of domain tasting is largely negative, and it is often viewed as abusing a loophole meant to correct user mistakes and accidental registrations.[3]

Outcome

The outcome of large scale domain tasting was mass registrations and then mass deletions within ICANN's AGP. This practice also made it difficult for individuals to register domain names as so many names were constantly being tasted by different speculators.

Historical Use

Domain tasting can be lucrative for investors as it allows them to try out domain names without penalty, often using advertising such Pay-Per-Click (PPC) ads; tasters can even make money in the 5-day grace period.[4][1] ICANN's add grace period is supposed to provide registrants with the opportunity to return domain names that may have been "registered in error."[2] Mass domain tasting can be seen as an abuse of this period, making names that individuals or small businesses may want to register unavailable as they are tasted and adding to Internet clutter in the form of page solely devoted to advertising.[5][2] According to an ICANN outcome report on domain tasting, deletions of .coms and .nets were relatively stable before 2005 and then began to rapidly increase in 2006 and continued to climb in 2007, reaching between 50,000,000 and 60,000,000 deletions in March 2007.[6] This occurred as profitable speculation over domain names became more widespread. In the .com and .net space, according to a 2007 Verisign report, "the top ten domain tasters were responsible for 95% of all deleted .com and .net domain names: 45,450,897 of the total 47,824,131 deleted names."[2][7] Additionally, based on the same Verisign report, the top 4 registrars participating in domain tasting accounted for 74% of all deleted names.[7]

ICANN Policy

    • AGP: a policy that allows registrars to receive registry operator credit for names that are registered and then deleted within a five day period.[8]
  • Provision on AGP Deletes: this provision was adopted by ICANN in June 2008 as a temporary solution to the domain tasting epidemic and charged registrars 20 cents per deleted domain name over the specified conditions.[9] The provision only applied if domain names deleted during the add grace period surpassed:
    • "(i) 10 percent of that registrar's net new registrations in that month, or
    • (ii) Fifty (50) domain names, whichever is greater."[9]
  • AGP Limits Policy: This ICANN policy is very similar to the temporary solution it replaced EXCEPT that the charge for each deletion over the 10 percent mark or 50 domain name limit per month was greater: "$6.75 (i.e., the cost of a current .ORG domain) or higher depending on the domain registration fee charged by the registry to the registrar."[9]
    • According to ICANN, these fees on domain tasting have virtually put an end to the practice as indicated by a "99.7% decrease in AGP deletes from June 2008 to April 2009." [9]

Legislation

There is currently no U.S. legislation that addresses domain tasting.

DNS Award

Awardees do not participate in practices that abuse ICANN's AGP at the expense of other Internet users and work to prevent such abuses.

Additional Resources

Related Articles

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 Domain Tasting, Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN)
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Domain Tasting by Margaret Rouse (March 2008), WhatIs.com
  3. AGP (Add Grace Period) Limits Policy, Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN)
  4. Taste Testing Domain Names Can Yield Big Dollars For Savvy Investors (October 14, 2008), TodayNic.com
  5. The End of Domain Tasting | AGP Deletes Decrease 99.7% (August 12, 2009), Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN)
  6. Outcomes Report in October 2007 (PDF), Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN)
  7. 7.0 7.1 GNSO Issues Report on Domain Tasting (2007), ICANN
  8. https://www.icann.org/resources/pages/agp-policy-2008-12-17-en Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 The End of Domain Tasting | Status Report on AGP Measures, Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN)