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I, the Domain Name Tasting Victim

I have recently been a “victim” of the domain name tasting “scam”. A domain name (.COM) which is related to me personally (and which was owned by someone else previously) expired and as I knew from Whois (which is another debate on its own) that the expiry date was coming up, I kept a watch on when it would become available so I could register it. To cut a long story short, it took me nearly 6 weeks to get the domain.

Each time the domain dropped off the 5 day grace period (it is not really something that would generate ad revenue), it would be picked up by a different registrant, dropped again, picked up by another and so on. Of course they all had links on the domain’s default page inviting me to purchase it for a fee (or I had the option of using a domain registrar’s pre-buy service, at a premium over the normal domain registration price). I refused to take up either of these and persisted with my course of action of checking regularly.

After much research and analysis I came to the conclusion that, to get the domain name, I had to try and register at a time when the robots/scripts used by these dodgy registrants had not triggered. I found this time to be around 2 - 3 am West Coast USA time, and thus 6 weeks into my adventure I succeeded in registering the domain at 2:38am.

The issue, however, is that there seem to be a large set of registrars who are not playing the game as it should be played, with the rules that have been established, and are stretching beyond what is acceptable. Redemption grace periods are being manipulated and stretched beyond published guidelines (in my case over twice what was published).

All this has a bearing on the average Internet User, who for all intents and purposes, is not likely to have the background, nor the complete understanding, of how the domain name game works and will more likely than not, be unable to register a domain that they would like. And this ultimately leads down the path to disenfranchising Joe Average on the Internet, the very thing the Internet is not supposed to be about.

By Rajnesh D. Singh, Chief Operating Officer

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Comments

Alex Tajirian  –  Oct 19, 2007 5:00 AM

Rajnesh,

Glad to hear a happy ending!

The registration success suggests either an anomaly in the domain tasting market or luck. The following are some plausible explanations of the former:
1.  The market is not competitive.
2.  Tasters are naïve.
3.  Tasters have colluded and agreed to demonstrate to the world that they are giving domainers a 1-hour widow of opportunity to register names.
4.  It is too costly to run their scripts every few minutes.
5.  Tasters are very sophisticated. When observing that the domain name went through few drop-pickup cycles, they all determined that it was not worth pursuing.

Any thoughts?

Kristina Rosette  –  Oct 19, 2007 5:00 PM

Rajnesh,

If you haven’t read the ICANN ad hoc group report on domain tasting, you may find it interesting.  It’s accessible at http://gnso.icann.org/drafts

The GNSO Council is planning to vote at its 31 October meeting in LA whether to start a policy development process on domain tasting.  If you’ll be at the ICANN Meeting, I encourage you to attend the GNSO Council Public Forum and Meeting. 

Any thoughts on how to eliminate tasting other than to eliminate the Add Grace Period?

(Disclosure:  I’m one of the IPC reps on the GNSO Council.)

Danny Lee Younger  –  Oct 19, 2007 5:48 PM

This year’s ICANN budget contained the following statement:

“Consistent with previous years, domains deleted within the “add or auto-renew” grace periods will not be charged a transaction fee.”

The Board asked for public comments on the budget.  One, and only one, comment was received; it came from an Advisory Committee to the board that recommended applying the registrar level transaction fee to add grace period transactions in order to curtail domain tasting activities.

The ICANN Board chose to ignore that recommendation.  The board could have instantaneously solved the domain tasting problem by applying such fees, but instead they chose to do nothing. 

Maybe instead of focusing on how to eliminate tasting, we should figure out how to eliminate this unresponsive and irresponsible board.

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