Double Whammy for Domain Name Tasters

Ash Nallawalla

31 January 2008


First came the news from ICANN last week that domain tasting will largely disappear. Not totally, because the practice hasn’t been banned, but it won’t be free anymore. The ICANN Board passed a motion to

include fees for all domains added, including domains added during the AGP,
and encourages community discussion involved in developing the ICANN budget,
subject to both Board approval and registrar approval of this fee.

The AGP is the five-day “Add Grace Period” during which a registrar was not charged the $0.20 ICANN transaction fee (originally intended to cover typos and errors). A reseller usually got a shorter period of grace from the registrar. A few registrars and individual domain tasters took advantage of this period to register tens of millions of speculative domains each month to see if there was any type-in traffic that would be shown AdSense or similar ads. If there was no traffic, the domain name would be cancelled within the AGP at no cost to the registrant.

Now the party is over, with all gTLD transactions to cost $0.25. This won’t stop domain tasting, but it will be severely curtailed.

Google Puts Boot In

While domain tasters were drowning their sorrows in some virtual pub, Google is about to change its AdSense policy before the end of February, reports Jay Westerdal in the DomainTools Blog:

A confidential informant says Google will stop monetizing all domains if they are less than five days old. This potential new policy change by Google could stop all Domain Tasting in its tracks.

Most domain tasters used AdSense or Yahoo! PPC ads to monetise their temporary assets and they kept the domain if the type-in traffic kept coming and clicking the ads. This means a domain taster will only be watching a visitor counter and not the cash register for the first four days and pay ICANN 25c for the privilege by cancelling before the fifth day ends. Jay believes that Yahoo! will also implement a similar policy.

This is great news for the rest of us. People will buy domain names more thoughtfully and for long-term reasons. Google will regain some of that lost “Do No Evil” cred.

Ash Nallawalla

Search strategist experienced in large, complex websites. SEO consultant.

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