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Archived updates for Wednesday, August 09, 2006

.UK Registrar Limits Deletions to Combat "Domain Tasting"

According to Tom Espiner writing for ZDNet UK on August 07, 2006, Nominet, the official .UK domain-name registry has announced that, as of August 8, 2006, its registration agents will only be able to delete up to five percent of their .UK registrations, or five domain names, which ever is greater.

The change is being made in order to combat the latest form of "Parked Domain Monetization," referred to as "domain tasting," where names are registered and then quickly deleted if they do not generate sufficient traffic. Because there is a mandatory five-day grace period for receiving a refund on a domain name registration, Domain Tasters (or "Domainers") can essentially test an unlimited number of domains for any number of consecutive five-day periods, before making a risk-free evaluation of which ones to keep. In fact, websites like RevenueDirect claim to let owners monetize parked domain names even "without needing to develop a website."

Domain tasting is also reported to be the subject of a U.S. federal cybersquatting lawsuit reportedly filed by brand name retailers against domain name registrar Dotster.

According to Bob Parsons, CEO of GoDaddy, over 90 percent of .com domain names are cancelled before payment is due:
On the 31st day of March 2006, approximately 764,672 .COM names were registered. Of these names, after the five day AGP period expired, only 61,169 .COM names were actually retained. So, of the 764,672 names registered on March 31st,
703,503 — or 92 percent — were dropped just before the grace period expired. The lion’s share – perhaps 99 percent — were dropped by registrars participating in the add/drop scheme.
"I see nothing wrong with monetizing traffic in this respect as these companies actually step up and purchase the domain names," writes Parsons. "I propose we make the $0.25 ICANN fee [for registrations kept past the grace period] non-refundable upon the registration of every domain name, and have it debited out of the funds on deposit at the Registry."
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