Google next month will add technology to its AdSense program that detects domain kiting, a practice many experts in the domain registration space view as questionable as it is profitable.
Domain kiting is a practice some domain registrants use to game the five-day grace period at the beginning of the registration of an ICANN-regulated domain. The grace period helps registrants who mistyped domain names they acquired from being stuck with the wrong domain.
In kiting, registrants repeatedly delete a domain name during the grace period and re-register it without ever paying for it. They do this over and over again, generating money from the ad hits the successful domains get.
Successful domains generate significant online advertising revenue because they are active in search engines, such as Google, which makes millions from partners that taste domains with AdSense for Domains.
Meanwhile, honest registrants who want to use the name for legitimate business reasons can't get the names that are tied up through kiting.
To wit, Google on Feb. 11 will put in a system that prevents registrants from making ad revenue from kited domains using AdSense for Domains. As is its custom, Google would not detail exactly how it works, but issued this statement to eWEEK.
"We have long discouraged domain kiting as a practice," a Google spokesperson said. "If we determine that a domain is being kited, we will not allow Google ads to appear on the site. We believe that this policy will have a positive impact for users and domain purchasers across the Web."
Google has some protective interests in quashing kiting. As some bloggers have pointed out, vendors who enable domain kiting can be susceptible to forgery lawsuits.
Kiting is not to be confused with domain tasting, in which registrants "taste" the domains for five days and then buy them, according to Search Engine Land's Danny Sullivan.
Several reports are saying Google is targeting tasting, but the company spokesperson specifically mentioned kiting in his official statement, and later cryptically said the system would also affect tasting, but would not elaborate.
My thinking is if the system does affect tasters who make a lot of money from the practice, it will create a backlash against Google by tasters who believe they are legally leveraging the system.
This situation will bear watching once the domain protection system kicks in next month.