Grace period being exploited, claims registry.The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (Icann) is looking to end the five-day grace period when registering a domain, and to start charging the annual fee on registrar domain registrations.
The organisation claimed that many users abuse the Add Grace Period (AGP) to test the profitability of a domain, a process known as 'domain tasting'.
The five-day AGP follows the initial registration of a domain name when the registration may be deleted and a credit issued to a registrar.
It was originally introduced by registries so that registrars could avoid costs if a domain name was mistyped or misspelled during the registration process.
The AGP currently forms part of the .com, .net, .org, .info, .name, .pro and .biz registry contracts.
"Domain tasting has been an issue for the internet community and Icann is offering this proposal as a way to stop it," said Dr Paul Twomey, president and chief executive at Icann.
"Charging the Icann fee as soon as a domain name is registered would close the loophole used by tasters to test a domain name's profitability for free.
"This idea came from the Icann community and we think it is the viable solution that the internet community has been seeking."
Jonathan Robinson, chief operating officer at NetNames, told www.vnunet.com that domain tasting has essentially replaced the old practice of cyber-squatting, which waned significantly thanks to stricter resolution practices by all registry services.
Robinson explained that the AGP has also led to the practice of domain 'kiting', which involves deleting a domain name during the five-day grace period and immediately re-registering it for another five-day period.
This practice is often abused by people who use slightly misspelt or alternative versions of popular internet sites and brands and set up pay-per-click advertising to make money from users who stumble across the sites.
Icann claimed that domain tasting has been a serious challenge for the internet community and has grown dramatically since 2004.
The top 10 domain tasters in January 2007 accounted for 95 per cent of all deleted .com and .net domain names, equating to 45,450,897 domain names out of 47,824,131 total deletions.
The proposal will be part of the Icann budget process for fiscal 2008.