Posted January 30, 2008 7:54 pm by with 4 comments

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Over the last month I and others have written quite a bit about domain tasting and how registrars are taking advantage of the policy, allowing them to capture potential domain names that their customers are searching for.

ICANN describes domain tasting as “the use of the Add Grace Period to test the profitability of a domain name registration. The AGP is a five-day period following the initial registration of a domain name when the registration may be deleted and a credit can be issued to a registrar.”

The Washington Post has written an article discussing ICANN’s most recent proposal to curb domain tasting and eliminate the practice. By no longer refunding the fee that ICANN imposes on each domain transaction ICANN believes this will eliminate the process of domain tasting, at least in large quantities.

This belief is based on the success of a similar surcharge put in place by the Public Interest Registry, which has a $0.05 charge per domain for registrars who return 90% or more of their registered domains after the 5 day grace period in a given month. Odds are this proposal will be discussed in an ICANN meeting later this month and if approved at some point later this summer could be implemented.

While this sounds like a very good solution, it leads to a number of different questions including will this change effect the rates registrars charge to consumers for domain names? Should a consumer make an error in registering a domain name what type of support will registrars supply? And of course why has it taken them this long to enforce their already exiting rules?

If you are curious about this topic earlier this month Andy Beal also covered how Network Solutions reacted, when their domain tasting practices were brought to light negatively.

  • Google’s decision to not play with domain testers alone will eradicate a lot of domain testing. It’ll be interesting to see what happens with this.

  • @Utah SEO – Google may be the primary choice for domain monetization, but it isn’t the only source. I believe if they enforce the fee it will force significant changes to the way registrars do business.

  • I wasn’t aware of this option until I read about it recently on some other blogs as well. According to what I read, people book thousands of domains and test them for monetizing potential in those 5 days and then return the ones that do not work well without any cost to them. Or for that matter cancel the domain and pocket whatever money they make in the 5 days. I believe it is the right move to stop domain tasting.

  • nmw