ICANN Takes a Lick at Domain Tasting
I recently became aware of a report by ICANNs staff called "GNSO Issues Report on Domain Tasting" for the At-Large Advisory Committee for an Issues Report on Domain Tasting. Domain tasting, as defined by the report itself, is:Some other domains are experiencing healthy growth, such as the .UK and .DE country codes, but even the old standard .NET and .ORG domains are languishing relative to .COM, and the tasting issues parallel the less abusive growth. After all, its all about finding domains people will navigate to, and its an article of faith of those in the domain name business that .COM domains have a large and automatic advantage in popularity. See VeriSigns most recent report on domain name growth for some interesting charts on where the registrations and growth are. Last year PIR (Public Interest Registry), which runs the .ORG domain, became concerned enough about tasting to ask ICANN for permission to charge a 5 cent excess deletion fee for registrars performing deletions in the AGP in excess of 90 percent of registrations. Ninety percent! My instinct tells me this is excessively tolerant, and of course it is, but no practical tasting operation could be profitable deleting only 89 percent of their registrations. Anyway, the new PIR policy went into effect for June of this year, so its too early to determine the actual impact, and PIR seems not to have released any numbers yet. Page 2: ICANN Takes a Lick at Domain Tasting
[a] monetisation practice employed by registrants to use the AGP to register domain names in order to test their profitability. During this period, registrants conduct a cost-benefit analysis to see if the tested domain names return enough traffic to offset the registration fee paid to the registry over the course of the registration period (e.g., currently $6 US for a .NAME domain name).The "AGP" is the "Add Grace Period," a period of several days (typically five) following a registration during which the registrant may revoke the registration for a full refund of the registry and ICANN transaction fees. ICANN is considering other changes that could improve the state of the Internet, but will they? Click here to read more.
Its typical of ICANN to refer to the registry fee for the .NAME TLD. Of course, nobody gives a damn about .NAME and, while the issue of domain tasting may affect it technically, as a practical matter theyre irrelevant. Domain tasting is overwhelmingly an issue of and for the .COM namespace, as is the entire domain name boom. Even the ICANN report says that tasting is basically a problem of the .COM space, although it does appear in some of the others.