ICANN, the agency responsible for global coordination of the
Internet's system of unique identifiers, including domain names and Internet
protocols, is eyeing the practice of domain name tasting for policy changes.
Tasting, originally designed to keep typos from becoming
permanent errors, is also used by domain name entrepreneurs to test the
profitability of certain names before committing to purchase them.
ICANN is now taking a hard look at the practice, issuing a
report that identifies the need for further investigation of the practice. The
report identifies several potential problems with the practice, including:
Potential impact on the stability of the gTLD name space
potentially on the entire DNS; Potential consumer confusion and other concerns
about potential negative affects on the consumer experience; Potential
increased costs and burdens to legitimate registrants; Potential for facilitation
of trademark infringement; [and] added difficulty for law enforcement to access
records and pursue cases of criminal activity.
The report identifies two potential primary solutions.
First, the potential solution of making changes to the grace period, such as totally
eliminating the grace period. Second, a proposed option is to make contractual
changes in individual registry agreements with ICANN. This might entail
imposition of an “excess deletion fee” such as that currently employed by the
“.org” extension registrar.
The writing on the wall seems clear. The report is heavily
anti-tasting, and the report recommends that the policy be completely
eliminated. Barring substantial public support for tasting, domain tasting
is likely to become a thing of the past in upcoming years.