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It's Time to End Domain Name Front Running
Category: Domain Names
Next week the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) Board of Directors will consider adopting a 20 cent per-transaction fee that will effectively end the abusive speculating practices of domain tasting, front running and kiting. The fee will only apply when domain names are deleted excessively, a signal that they are being "tasted" by speculators.
We, at Network Solutions, strongly encourage ICANN to enact this important provision as part of its budget and we have released a statement to that effect today,
Domain "tasting" occurs when parties register a domain name and place pay-per-click ads on the domain's Web page to determine if the name is worth more than its registration cost; if it is not, the taster simply deletes the name during the allowed five-day grace period and receives a full refund.
In some cases, the names are immediately reregistered and tasted for another five days. Sometimes this process is repeated over and over in a scheme called "domain kiting." Both of these practices are abusive as they allow tasters to hold, at no cost, millions of domains that are no longer available to the public for registration.
Elimination of tasting and kiting will also curtail the practice of front running. Front running is when someone registers a domain name, for the purpose of tasting, within minutes or hours after someone else has conducted a search for that domain name. Front runners may get access to domain search data through Internet Service Providers, spyware, or registries.
Because of the prevalence of these practices, earlier this year Network Solutions enacted an opt-in domain protection measure for our customers that reserves available domains for four days. If ICANN adopts the anti-tasting provision, Network Solutions will feel safe in discontinuing its service since the non-refundable fee will deflate domain taster's profits and provide a substantial blow to front runners who use and sell search data for tasting purposes.
While we understand and appreciate certain concerns initially raised about our protection measure and the way it was implemented, we are heartened by the fact that we successfully highlighted the issue and assisted in moving toward the eradication of these negative practices.
You can read our statement in full on our site at our media room.