Hells yeah! The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, the group in charge of domain registrars (who are in charge of keeping track of who owns what domain names) has recently announced they will start cracking down on domain kiting and other abuses of the add grace period (original announcement in sections 5 and 6). A little background here: the AGP is like a returns policy for domain names: normally you pay a registrar money and get a domain name for a year, but in the first 5 days you can choose to return it and get your money back. This was intended to give people recourse if they misspelled the domain while registering it, but it has lead to some unintended consequences. “Domain kiting” is the practice of buying a domain, returning it for a full refund after 4 days, and immediately buying it again. Kiters can in effect own the domain without ever fully paying for it. “Domain tasting” is the related practice of buying a domain, putting ads on it, seeing if it will monetize well for 4 days, and then returning the ones that don’t make money.

In the past, ICANN’s stance has been that they want any change in policy to come from the registrars in a bottom-up fashion, since they don’t want to be seen as imposing their will or regulating the internet in any way. This has not been conducive to change because the registrars enjoy these practices: they make a bunch of money from domain tasting. This has continued even though most netizens aware of the issue are against these practices.

The final push that really got them to implement this policy happened earlier that week, when Google changed its policy for such domains: Google will no longer serve ads on any parked (read: contentless) domains during the 5-day grace period. That is to say, you need to actually own the domain before you can monetize it with them. The reason I’m so excited about this is that I built the infrastructure that made this change possible. That’s right—my work is on Slashdot!

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  1. Anonymous says:

    1) Wow! Congrats! I remember you talking to me about this at the Chinese restaurant, and I’m pleased for you that it is getting implemented.

    2) The title to this post kicks ass.

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