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Domain name tasting left a bitter flavor in Google's mouth, and it vows to take serious action against offenders

Internet giant Google continues its battle against evil by taking a hard stand against so-called "domain name tasting."

Domain name tasting is a practice in which people purchase attractive domain names, and then take advantage of the grace period, returning them a few days later only to rebuy them again.  This may continue many times as they both make advertiser revenue, and examine interest in the domains.  The process has become largely automated, and millions of domain names lie in the hands of a small group of entrepreneurs at any given time.

Critics complain that the grace period, once used to safeguard legitimate users from mistakes such as domain name misspellings, is now put to use for gross abuse of the online system.  The domain name hoarding that occurs, comes at virtually no cost to the buyer, but hurts businesses and individuals who have legitimate interest in the domain names.  Many claim that this abusive practice eats up all the good domain names, so honest users are left with few options.

In the past one lure to domain name taste was the potential advertising revenue.  Google has now vowed to put this to an end.  It has said it will begin examining domain names that are repeatedly dropped and then repurchased and within a few weeks its AdSense program will ban these domains from receiving advertising dollars.

Google spokesman Brandon McCormick lauded the move saying, "We believe that this policy will have a positive impact for users and domain purchasers across the Web."

Warnings of the new policy were sent out to AdSense customers last Thursday.

Jay Westerdal of DomainTools blog says the move will prove a serious obstacle to would-be domain name tasters.  He says, "If Google and Yahoo are not monetizing these types of sites, I think domain tasting as we know it will come to a screeching halt.  The alternative advertising is just not as effective."

Rival Yahoo already led the charge against tasters, suing several domain name registration companies and trying to block advertising to tasters. 

The key oversight agency of the Internet, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, has been examining the issue and closes its public comment phase today.  The operators in control of the ".org" suffix have already changed its rules so that companies are charged for multiple returns.  This has led to a sharp decrease in returns.  In only a month the number of deletions went from 2.4 million in May of last year to 152,000 in June, once the policy was enacted.

These new rules along with the extension of the Internet tax ban in U.S. should help to make the Internet more free and accessible to the legitimate users and businesses.

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Network Solutions - Front Running
By TomZ on 1/28/2008 5:36:47 PM , Rating: 5
Another related shady practice is domain name "Front Running." This is where a company hosts a domain name search, and when you do a search doing their search tool, the registrar "reserves" the domain name you searched, using the same 6-day IIRC "grace period" as used in Domain Name Tasting. They do this either to register the domain themselves - to sell back to you later at a higher cost - or to effectively force you into registering the name with them.

In fact, it is amazing, that Network Solutions has openly implemented a policy of domain name Front Running preportedly to "protect" its customers. The reality is that if you use Network Solutions' domain name search tool, you may be locked into registering the name with them since they may reserve it, preventing you from registering it through another registrar.

Boo! and hiss! to these companies for these types of shady practices.

RE: Network Solutions - Front Running
By TomZ on 1/28/2008 5:43:40 PM , Rating: 2 other words, in order to help prevent you from being the victim of Front Running, Network Solutions is "protecting" you by engaging in Front Running themselves.

Kind of like the bad cop who tells you he will help you prevent your car from getting stolen, by stealing it himself.

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