Request for Information on Domain Tasting

In view of the increase in domain tasting (definitions below), the GNSO Council recently considered an Issues Report on Domain Tasting [pdf] and resolved to form an ad hoc group for further fact-finding on the effects of this practice.

The ad hoc group has prepared these questions to assist in gathering facts and opinions, while inviting both qualitative and quantitative input. The group would especially appreciate statistical and other empirical evidence to support your responses, or references to potential sources of information.

To be considered by the group, information should be submitted no later than 15 September 2007.



Domain Tasting: Domain tasting is a monetization practice employed by registrants to use the add-grace period to register domain names in order to test their profitability. During this period, registrants conduct a cost-benefit analysis to determine if the tested domain names return enough traffic to offset the annual registration fee paid to the registry over the course of the registration period (e.g., currently 6.00 USD for a .NAME domain name) and the annual transaction fee paid to ICANN (currently 0.20 USD).

Add Grace Period (AGP): A Grace Period refers to a specified number of calendar days following a Registry operation in which a domain action may be reversed and a credit may be issued to a registrar. AGP is typically the five day period following the initial registration of a domain name. AGP appears as a contractual term in some, but not all gTLD registry agreements.

AGP allows, among other things, for the correction of typos and other errors by registrants. Once a domain name is deleted by the registry at this stage, it is immediately available for registration by any registrant through any registrar. When a domain name is registered through an ICANN accredited registrar, that registrar may cancel the domain name at any time during the first five calendar days of the registration and receive a full credit for the registration fee from the registry and also avoid the ICANN transaction fee.