Domain tasting scam ended by ICANN

Carl sez, "'Domain Tasters' who grab a domain name for a few days and then return it before having to pay have been thwarted by a new ICANN policy that charges for excessive returns. Monthly returned domains have dropped 99.7% from a year ago."
Domain tasters managed to make money with the practice, which essentially cost them nothing, in several ways. By registering variants of some domain name in bulk, it would be possible to direct them all to a simple webpage that harvested revenue from advertising services (Google, for example, acted to block the practice around the same time ICANN did). These could be used to quickly grab users looking for something related to a current event, or to sample a wide range of typos for a popular site; any names with staying power could be kept, while the rest could be discarded after a few days at no cost.

An alternate approach was to track users as they searched for the availability of different domain names, then register anything they considered. If the user ultimately tried to register one, the domain taster could offer to part with the one they'd registered at an inflated price; if nothing happened in a few days, the name was returned.

"Domain tasters" bitter as new fees put an end to their games (Thanks, Carl!)


  1. Now if only ICANN can also figure out a way to eliminate domain squatting, all will be right with the world.

  2. How much money could people make from this?? For all the effort required? Someone please shock me with the stats. I’d be surprised if it was more than a hundred bucks a day.

  3. hmm, sounds a lot like the high speed trading strategies on wall street…perhaps a significant $$$$ penalty for very high amounts of small trades could have the same effect. (assuming we think those trades are a bad thing)

  4. Weird. I can’t seem to sign in, so I’ll post anonymously.

    Thank goodness for this. I wish ICANN would do more to crush the various parasites and squatters. For every few bucks those jerks make, hundreds are wasted by confused users and people struggling to name their new companies and products.

    Especially with the economy in the toilet, we should be doing everything possible to aid people starting new businesses.

    My personal proposal is to raise the price of domain names drastically, but with discounts for people who don’t own many. E.g., it’s $250 a year normal price, but if you own just a couple, it’s still $10 a year. ICANN can then turn the extra money around as grants for open-source development and anti-spam activity.

  5. Straight-up domain squatting is part of Icann’s business. The whole point of new tlds is to magically create real estate.

  6. Hmm, don’t know why my comment didn’t register earlier.

    I just like the fact that the graphic lists domains down to the tenth in resolution. How do you withdraw 0.1 domain?

    -Citizens for the Responsible Use of Significant Digits

  7. A club I belong to had a .com website, but it expired because the person who registered it left the club. And a domain squatter snatched it and just put a bunch of advertisements on it.

    How do we prevent that? A lawsuit would probably suffice, but the club doesn’t have that kind of money.

  8. Good on ya, Jim Kirk.

    Not only are the domains calculated to the nearest 1/10 of a domain, the ‘green’ bar (there is a green bar, apparently)is sized to zero pixels vertically, when it should be 1 pixel high. Even enlarge by 2700%, you still can see that green bar…

    Not to mention, the 17,669K bar should be taller, by 25 pixels.

    – The Committee for the Use of Pertinent Information Display

  9. Gah… I need a proofreader this week:

    That last post should have read:
    “Not only are the domains calculated to the nearest 1/10 of a domain, the ‘green’ bar (there is a green bar, apparently) is zero pixels high, while it should be 1 pixel high.

    Even enlarged when by 2700%, you still cannot see any green bar on that graphic…

    And besides, the 17,669K bar isn’t proportioned correctly. It should be taller, by 25 pixels.

    – CUPID: The Committee for Useful and Pertinent Information Displays”

    There, better.

  10. Glad to see the world still has strong standing Citizen groups and Committees that stand up for the important things in this world.

    I for one was disgusted to see the utterly inappropriate use of ellipsis (triple dots) in the last sentence of the article. Ellipses should be used primarily to indicate a deliberately omitted word from a quote or original text or to demonstrate a pause (often for dramatic effect) in a speech. Simply placing them willy nilly into an article simply indicates the writers lack of understanding on the issue.

    PAWNED – People Against Willy Nilly use of Ellipses for Dramatic …*

    *The word effect has been deliberately omitted from this title to create a far cooler acronym.

  11. Oh be honest- who among us hasn’t gone into an ice cream parlor just to try a free sample? And then did it again 17 million times in the space of a month?

  12. I think only ICANN can put a halt to such domain squatting cases. I wonder how these fraudsters play such cheap tactics to make so much of money on the Internet.

    Hence, I’d suggest that one must only trust good domain registrars, who own the responsibility of saving their customers from such frauds. I trust only a few like LimeDomains, HostGator, Yahoo! etc.

Comments are closed.