The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has voted to change a process that turned “Domain tasting” into a real big issue for many domain customers. The group agreed that it should change how the 5 day grace period on registering a domain name works. The grace period was to give people a chance to remit if they made a mistake on purchasing a domain name. It was also a chance to give a business time to do some market research on the name. But will this be the answer, or will this cause more headaches for legitimate domain purchasers?
Domain tasting is a term cooked up to define the grace period of a domain purchase. Let’s say a customer wants to register “thisismydomain.com”. They purchase the name, in which they have 5 days to turn around and say “I made a mistake and don’t want this one”. The idea was for people who misspell the name (in this case, we’ll say the customer registered “thisismydoman.com”) or decide to take their business in another direction a chance to back out of the transaction.
However, this convenience was abused by many. They would build advertising – laden sites and attach to millions of “tasted” domain names. The revenue received by these sites would make the effort well worth it. Finally, at the 5th day, the site was cancelled and the taster would walk away with money in their pocket.
In a recent GoDaddy report, out of the 55 million domain names registered, 51.5 were cancelled within the 5 day grace period. And what is worse is that a site can cancel a name, then pick it back up for another 5 day grace period within seconds. The individual could do this multiple times and make money off of unsuspected internet browsers that misspell a name. Worse yet, these sites get into search engines and dilute the results.
The practice would put money in their hands, but then take money out of the companies that register and control the domains – ICANN and GoDaddy for example. However, with the new plan, for each domain registered there will be a .20 cent non-refundable annual fee. Not much for 1 domain, however if you buy hundreds – or thousands at a time, .20 cents turns into serious cash.
Think of it as a “Restocking Fee”. If you went to Best Buy and bought an item, then took it back a couple days later, they would take out money to restock – especially if the item was opened. Best Buy cannot resell an item that was returned unless they let the consumer know that it was a return. Domains can also get damaged if the Taster decided to put questionable content on the site causing people to “Block” the name.
The plan has not been fully worked out. They will discuss this more next month in New Dehli, and if approved, might not go into effect until July 1, or even later depending on what World’s Registars agree to.
The .20 cent fee is an acceptable one. If you misspell the name, you only loose .20 cents out of the issue. The 5 day grace period would still be in effect. The only way this can be worth tasting is if the site can generate enough revenue to pay for the .20 cent loss.
It will be interesting to see how the traffic changes once this is implemented. This all comes after the issues with Network Solutions started tasting for cybersquatting reasons, and because of pressure from Google – which changed their Adsense program to counter tasters. A more accurate account of domain purchases may be revealed and although it doesn’t abolish cybersquatting, we might have a better time trying to find that domain name we really want.