ICANN Ends Domain Tasting - ICANN's Status Report
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On August 12 th of 2009, ICANN released a status report entitled "The End of Domain Tasting." In it, the organization illustrated its policy change through the use of this example: under the new policy, registers are allowed up to 70 domain name deletions. So, say someone registers 1,000 domain names and drops 300 of them during the five day AGP, which is still in place. Taking into account their allotted 70 deletions, which means the remaining 230 dropped domain names cost 20 cents each, that equals $46. Let's not forget the additional charge of at least $6.75 for each excessive deletion. Those charges add up to $1,552.50, plus the previous $46. Before the domain taster realizes it, they've racked up a grand total of $1,598.50 in charges for their bad behavior.
ICANN decided to implement this new policy in June of 2008 when the ICANN Board approved their FY2009 Budget, which contained a provision on AGP deletes. The specific provision revealed that any domain names deleted during the AGP would be included as transactions if they exceeded the maximum of a.) 10 percent of that registrar's net new registrations that month, or b.) Fifty domain names; whichever was greater. As explained previously, this meant that the cost to the registrar for each AGP delete that exceeded the defined limit would be 20 cents. Initially, this provision was going to be adopted as a short-term solution, from July 1, 2008 to June 30, 2009, but it's looking like ICANN is going to stick with this new policy, which has proven to drastically reduce the number of domain tasters.
Obviously, ICANN has taken a major step to end domain tasting, but Google can receive some of the credit and be thanked as well. The fact that Google has chosen to stop monetizing any domains that are less than five days old has led to some promising news for those who legitimately use domain names they purchase. Essentially, the amount of advertising can now be fairly spread among fewer domains -- many of which are in place for legitimate reasons. Registrars should understand that bid prices may begin to rise as a result of Google's new policy, but this isn't entirely a bad thing. If they do indeed rise as result of this change, domain owners who own real, operating domains are more than likely to receive more money as a result.
There are many -- especially at ICANN and Google -- who consider domain tasting to be scheming and dishonest. There are, however, domain tasting advocates, many of which are probably domain tasters themselves. These "advocates" claim that unless they're allowed to continue to operate, there will be many times when no one will be able to serve the niche for some ads. This, they believe, will mean that no one will be making money on un-served ads, which they believe to be a waste. But think about it...would you want your ad placed on a junky website such as the ones domain tasters are putting live? You're not going to get very qualified leads from a site like that.
If you've ever attempted to purchase domain names, chances are you've been adversely affected by domain tasting. Perhaps a taster took a domain name you would have put to legitimate use, or perhaps they tried to sell you back a domain you really wanted at an inflated price. You can now take solace in the fact that this practice now comes with a large penalty. And for all of you domain tasters out there, beware: if you surpass your allotted 70 dropped domains, you'll be slammed with costly penalties. You've been warned.
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