Domain Tasting

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Domain Tasting is the practice whereby registrants use the free five-day “grace period” at the beginning of ICANN's registration process to test the marketability of that specific domain name.[1]

The Process

Domain tasters use this practice because they want to sell and make a profit on the domain names at a later date. Thus, domain tasters are looking for domain names with a high ROI (return on investment).

The domainers carefully monitor the activity on each website and once the five day "grace period" is over they keep only the websites that generate the largest clickthrough profit with respect to the clickthrough rate.

Domain Tasting vs. Domain Kiting

There are also cases when domainers repeatedly register, then cancel the domain and re-register the domain in order to avoid paying any fees while making profit from advertisements. This process is different from domain tasting, and is known as Domain Kiting.

ICANN and Domain Tasting

ICANN does not agree with domain tasting and has taken action to curtail its practice. For example, ICANN assesses a fee on entities who register numerous domains and habitually return a certain percentage of domains each month; though the fee is as low as $.20 per domain tasted it generally affects those who work with large quantities of domains.[2]

This solution was developed in 2008 when domain tasting became a serious problem. Even if the cost per domain name is not significant for a legitimate registrant, this may affect the domain taster since they rely on volume to earn profit. This solution has had positive results as it makes domain tasting a potentially expensive enterprise.

According to ICANN, the top ten domain tasters were responsible for 95% of all deleted domain names.[3]

In 2009 domain tasting reached 15 million domain names per month. Once the $0.20 fee was set for registration, the amount of domain tasting dropped by about 2 million per month.