ICANN Finally Realizes Domain Tasting Is A Problem, Might Fix It Sometime This Decade

from the or-maybe-not dept

The practice of "domain tasting" (or "domain kiting" as it used to be called) has been a well-known problem for at least two years now. Since domain name registrars offer a five day grace period whereby you can buy a domain and return it saying you made a "mistake," scammers have been buying up every domain name imaginable, throwing ads up on the site for five days, seeing what kind of return it gets, and then tossing it back (without ever paying for it). In some cases, scammers have set up multiple shell corporations to keep renewing those names for 5 days at a time indefinitely, without ever having to pay a dime. When we first wrote about it in May of 2006, the estimate was that over 90% of new domain registrations were of this nature (though, some question that number). Either way, it's clearly a big issue. Yet, it's taken nearly two years just to get ICANN to acknowledge it's a problem. On top of that, they're merely discussing the problem, and may not take any action towards dealing with it for some time. As per usual with ICANN, expect lots of talk and little useful action.

In related scammy domain name news, apparently the very first domain name registrar, Network Solutions, has joined the ranks of scammy registrar sites that reveal the names you're searching to scammers who register them quickly. This, also, has been a well-known problem since at least 2006, though usually for less reputable whois sites. Most people felt you were okay if you researched the names at a reputable site like Network Solutions. Network Solutions has responded to these accusations by claiming this is for customer protection (talk about double speak). Effectively, NetSol's claim is that they're trying to prevent others from registering the domain you searched for, so they're holding it themselves (and making it more expensive than you can get anywhere else). Maybe ICANN will notice this activity sometime in early 2011, and try to put in place a solution sometime before 2020.

Filed Under: domain names, domain tasting

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  1. identicon
    lar3ry, 10 Jan 2008 @ 8:01am

    Underhanded and unethical

    Network Solutions is doing this to "protect" their customers, of course. However, if you browse a domain name that has been "protected" by Network Solutions in this manner, you will get an advertising page telling you that the domain is available. They apparently do not care if you are the person that searched for the domain or not... they have possession and they will sell it to the first person to pick it up.

    Can Network Solutions provide an explanation how selling the domain to ANYBODY is providing any protection to the person that made the original search?

    If it is not protecting the original searcher, then there is only one other explanation: they are protecting themselves as the recipient of the $35 for selling the domain name... in effect, they're simply holding the domain name hostage.

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