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ICANN Takes a Step Toward Ending Domain Tasting

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the what-we-don't-need-when-we-don't-need-it dept.

The Internet 155

An anonymous reader writes "For years, domain squatters have exploited an ICANN loophole: whenever a domain name is registered, ICANN collects a 20-cent fee from the registrar. To allow for non-paying customers, the registrar can return it five days later for a full refund. The loophole has let unscrupulous registrars constantly create and refund domain-squatting websites, selling 'what you need when you need it' advertising. The problem has grown so bad that every month the world's top three domain squatters, all located in Miami with the same address and represented by the same lawyer, recycle 11 million domain names. After years of complaints, ICANN has finally begun moving on the problem. On April 17 ICANN's Generic Names Supporting Organization voted to make the ICANN 20-cent fee non-refundable. If the ICANN board ratifies this position in June, those top three squatters will be getting a monthly bill for $2.2M. News of the ICANN changes has been applauded by legitimate Internet businesses, tired of having to choose nonsense names because all the good ones have been squatted. ICANN has published an analysis of the economics of ending domain squatting."

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155 comments

Higher. (4, Insightful)

mingot (665080) | more than 5 years ago | (#23242654)

Make it a buck.

Re:Higher. (1)

tattood (855883) | more than 5 years ago | (#23242752)

Make it a buck.

If they do that, that will end up raising the price of the domain registration. The (legitimate) registrars would not want to have to pay for the cost of this in the event of a normal user/company returning a domain, so they are going to tack that onto the price of all domain registrations. They will likely add the 20 cents on anyway.

Re:Higher. (1)

Obfuscant (592200) | more than 5 years ago | (#23242930)

The (legitimate) registrars would not want to have to pay for the cost of this in the event of a normal user/company returning a domain,

Why would the registrar be paying this charge when someone returns a domain? It should be the registree who pays this. If you register a domain, part of the contract will be ".20c is nonrefundable" or "$1 is nonrefundable" or whatever.

The cost of a real registration should not go up to cover those who borrow them.

Re:Higher. (1)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 5 years ago | (#23243046)

I'd rather the price be higher. Domains are cheap, and cheap leads to massive amounts of squatting. If you really need 100 personal domain names, then you shouldn't object to paying for them.

Re:Higher. (2, Interesting)

Uncle Focker (1277658) | more than 5 years ago | (#23243316)

No, they just have a clause that says that $1 of the fee you pay to the registrar is nonrefundable. No need to price things higher at all.

It is simple. (1)

www.sorehands.com (142825) | more than 5 years ago | (#23243524)

No refunds. You have no refunds on software. The web site for purchase usually gives the user a chance to cancel the order before placed. Domains are not so expensive that one should not have to pay for their mistake, especially after having plenty of opportunities to cancel.

Re:Higher. (1)

Tuoqui (1091447) | more than 5 years ago | (#23242938)

Make it 5 bucks, people legitimately registering a domain would not be affected and registrars would end up ending domain tasting in its entirety.

All the registrars are gonna do is go 'Ok, $5 non-refundable if you cancel this domain' or something to that effect.

Re:Higher. (1)

Dog-Cow (21281) | more than 5 years ago | (#23243322)

This is simply not true. If the fee was raised to $5, the cost to registrees would go up at least $4.80. Remember, the $0.20 currently goes to ICANN, not the registrars. If the costs to the registrars goes up, the cost to the registrees will go up as well.

Re:Higher. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23243598)

I think the poster means the register cant refund the last $5. ICANN would still be paid only $0.20 the $4.80 would be in the pocket of the register.

Re:Higher. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23244582)

$0.20 for the 1st domain
$0.40 for the 2nd domain
$0.80 for the 3rd domain
$1.60 for the 4th domain
$3.20 for the 5th domain
$6.40 for the 6th domain
$12.80 for the 7th domain

I think you might see the pattern here. As people get more domains they get more costly. Make it cap at something like $100 or $200 per domain per year.

That'll stop every idiot out there that thinks they need to register more than a couple of domains for any one purpose.

Re:Higher. (1)

thogard (43403) | more than 5 years ago | (#23245516)

How do you know how many domains someone has? My server is hosting about 75 domains but only a few of them are mine and those all appear to be registered to different groups yet I'm the tech contact for all the rest.

Remember when .eu was started up, there were people who set up several registrars who each had lots of companies claiming ownership to some domains and in the case of sex.eu there were about 200 different ones that improperly claimed a trademark so in the end it was given to a random one of the 20 people who where honest said "I want it but have no real claim".

Three squatters... (1)

oahazmatt (868057) | more than 5 years ago | (#23242716)

So if this goes through, will these three squatters be forced to bend over?

Re:Three squatters... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23242984)

So if this goes through, will these three squatters be forced to bend over?

faster than Hans Reiser in a California prison

This could create a worse problem (3, Insightful)

davidwr (791652) | more than 5 years ago | (#23242720)

Now those squatters and domain registrars will work together to keep those domains locked up for good. If the domain registrars themselves are the ones registering the domains, their true cost will be a lot less than $6/year, especially if 90% of the domains resolve to the same IP address/web ad parking page.

I mean, how much does it cost for Registrar A and its affiliate company B to register 1M domain-names and point them all to the same IP address? Not $6M/year.

Re:This could create a worse problem (1)

tattood (855883) | more than 5 years ago | (#23242820)

The goal is to stop the squatters from registering and then abandoning the domains that dont generate revenue. When they register the domains, they point them all to the same ad-filled page on their website. At the end of the "trial" period, if the domain has not generated enough revenue to justify keeping the domain, then they return the domain. The ones that do generate ad revenue, they keep and leave up the ads.

Re:This could create a worse problem (2, Informative)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | more than 5 years ago | (#23242926)

No the registrars themselves have to pay ~ $6 a year/per name to the registry ( verisign ) for the domains they themselves purchase. So yes, it does cost anyone other than verisign at least 6 million to register 1 Million names.

So what stops Verisign? (1)

davidwr (791652) | more than 5 years ago | (#23243452)

What stops Verisign from either directly or indirectly getting into the squatting business, other than a desire to avoid bad publicity and maintain its cozy relationship with ICANN?

Re:So what stops Verisign? (1)

MadnessASAP (1052274) | more than 5 years ago | (#23244042)

I'm pretty sure that those are 2 very good reasons not to get into the domain squatting business.

Re:This could create a worse problem (4, Insightful)

eln (21727) | more than 5 years ago | (#23243094)

Forcing non-refundable fees would kill the profit margins because these guys would then have to pay for domains that aren't generating any revenue for them. As it is now, they can register thousands of domains essentially for free and get rid of the ones that don't make any money.

I think it's a good plan, but I think the 20 cents is too low. There should be a 1 or even 5 or 10 dollar fee that's non-refundable, and the total cost of a domain should be higher than it is. That would help eliminate domain tasting as well as eliminate domain squatting, wherein legitimate users have to pay inflated prices for domains anyway because squatters are holding them hostage.

Re:This could create a worse problem (1)

colesw (951825) | more than 5 years ago | (#23243192)

Well to become a accredited registrar you have to pay the following:
http://www.icann.org/registrars/accreditation-financials.htm [icann.org]
  • US$2,500 non-refundable application fee, to be submitted with application.
  • US$4,000 yearly accreditation fee due upon approval and each year thereafter.
  • Variable fee (quarterly) billed once you begin registering domain names or the first full quarter following your accreditation approval, whichever occurs first. This fee represents a portion of ICANN's operating costs and, because it is divided among all registrars, the amount varies from quarter to quarter. Recently this fee has ranged from US$1,200 to S$2,000 per quarter.
  • Transaction-based gTLD fee (quarterly). This fee is a flat fee (currently $0.20) charged for each new registration, renewal or transfer. This fee can be billed by the registrar separately on its invoice to the registrant, but is paid by the registrar to ICANN.

So yeah you pay $4000 per year, and then $4800-8000 a year in operating fees, then $0.20 per domain name, or $200,000 for 1 Million domain names.
Oh and also you need to prove $70,000 in assets and have $500,000 in insurance.

Re:This could create a worse problem (1)

mabhatter654 (561290) | more than 5 years ago | (#23245846)

That's cheap for a business. Even a McDonald's requires at least $2M per year to break even.

Considering they charge at least $6 per domain of pure profit versus pay $.20 they pay out (30x more!), it's a very good deal. That way they have money for sexy superbowl ads!

Judge Keeps Google on the Hook for Domain-Tasting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23242750)

How timely. A federal district court just refused to dismiss cybersquatting claims against Google [lawofgoogle.com] based on its AdSense for Domains [google.com] program. The plaintiff is accusing Google of "trafficking in" domain names via that program, which allegedly brings Google profits from large-scale domain-tasting activities. As the blog post in the first link reports, Google has recently made some policy changes in response to widespread domain-tasting activities.

the ICANNon has fired! (4, Insightful)

Bananatree3 (872975) | more than 5 years ago | (#23242806)

Gasp! The ICANNon has fired a shot at the domain squatters! That thing has been sitting there for years rusting, I never thought I'd see the day it actually did anything.

Re:the ICANNon has fired! (1)

hansamurai (907719) | more than 5 years ago | (#23244232)

Well, I'm sure they won't mind pocketing the extra dough either.

Re:the ICANNon has fired! (1)

Simon80 (874052) | more than 5 years ago | (#23245808)

There won't be any extra dough for them to pocket, since the closure of the loophole will eliminate large-scale tasting.

Re:the ICANNon has fired! (1)

antic (29198) | more than 5 years ago | (#23246114)

It is absolutely unbelievable that it has taken so long for action to be taken on this issue. Spineless bitches. There are also thousands of domains composed of random characters used entirely for spamming and the like. They bring no value to the internet whatsoever. Crack down on it immediately.

Tasting should never have been allowed in the first place.

Re:the ICANNon has fired! (1)

RealGrouchy (943109) | more than 5 years ago | (#23244912)

You mean you haven't seen them fire the ICANNon in the Digital War reenactments? It's quite the thing to watch. The sound of tens of thousands of bubbles bursting leaves you with a feeling of awe.

- RG>

Bureaucracy much? (1)

Fenresulven (516459) | more than 5 years ago | (#23242816)

So what has ICANN and ICANN's community done in the meantime?

Well, at the Marrakech meeting, the Security and Stability Advisory Committee (SSAC) released a report [pdf] covering the issue, following a request by the owner of the .org registry, PIR, which had been getting annoyed with the practice.

A few months later (September 2006), PIR pushed [pdf] for it to be allowed to charge five cents for .org domains, irrespective of whether they were returned during the Add Grace Period, if the returns accounted for more than 90 percent of domains registered in that month.

The Board approved the measure a month later and the first effort to stamp out domain tasting began. It was, according to PIR, immediately successful in reducing domain tasting.

In the meantime, a series of workshops was held at ICANN meetings covering the issue in increasing depth. The meeting after Marrakech, in São Paulo, Brazil in December 2006, saw a Domain Name Marketplace presentation. And no less than two sessions were held at the Lisbon meeting in March 2007: How the Marketplace for Expiring Names Has Changed; and the Domain name secondary market.

All of this prompted the At Large Advisory Committee to demand an issues report into the issue of domain tasting, which ICANN staff promptly did, producing a report in May 2007, putting it out for public comment, revising it, and then providing a final Issues Report [pdf] to the GNSO Council in June 2007, recommending that a formal policy development process (PDP) be launched.

The GNSO decided to create a Working Group, which produced an Outcomes Report [pdf] four months later in October 2007. That report then led to the GNSO launching a formal policy development process on the issue.

The result of this was an Initial Report [pdf] by staff in January 2008, put out for public comment. That led to a draft Final Report [pdf] the next month (February 2008). In March, the GNSO Council voted to solicit comments on a draft motion that had been prepared by a number of Council members and constituency representatives in an effort to curb domain tasting (a summary/analysis of those comments subsequently pulled back into the process).

In the meantime, the Board had embarked on its own solution, recommending at its January 2008 meeting that all domains be charged the 20 cent transaction fee, regardless of whether it was returned during the Add Grace Period. That proposal would have to go through the budgetary process for the next fiscal year before being enacted.


Is it any wonder it took forever to fix something as simple as domain name sampling?

I quit domain tasting in 2000 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23242822)

That's when I first saw goatse and I still have a bad taste in my mouth.

It has a flavr? (3, Funny)

spun (1352) | more than 5 years ago | (#23243070)

That's when I first saw goatse and I still have a bad taste in my mouth.
Eeeeew! You aren't supposed to use your mouth on that.

More feel-good decisions, less real action (3, Insightful)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 5 years ago | (#23242838)

So it looks like our buddies at ICANN are again ignoring the larger problems that they could take action against, in favor of solving problems that only a small group of people care about.

I would be much more impressed with ICANN if they actually started punishing the registrars that are so blatantly making profit from internet crime. There is a long list of registrars that sell .com domains to spam kings like Kuvayev for him to sell drugs and pirated software. And conveniently enough, many of these registrars will claim to not speak English when you try to ask them about it through their support - even though they provide registration details in clear English. And these same registrars will claim to be located overseas anyways, and hence are not responsible for following US laws.

ICANN has allowed a long list of criminals to make money off the internet. It is one thing to turn a blind eye to a foreign domain registry, but ICANN is turning a blind eye towards the .com and .org registries as well, all in the apparent name of profit.

Re:More feel-good decisions, less real action (1)

lseltzer (311306) | more than 5 years ago | (#23242998)

It's bigger than you think. In 2007 a majority of domains registered were for tasting purposes.

Re:More feel-good decisions, less real action (1)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 5 years ago | (#23243044)

It's bigger than you think. In 2007 a majority of domains registered were for tasting purposes.

That may be true, but it doesn't really counter my statement of it being a problem that only a small group of people care about. I would have a very hard time believing that domain tasting has affected anywhere near as many people on the internet as has the spam that has been made possible by complacent registrars and the do-nothing organization known as ICANN.

Re:More feel-good decisions, less real action (2, Informative)

iamhigh (1252742) | more than 5 years ago | (#23243174)

Spam and internet crimes are just that, crimes. Trying to hold ICANN accountable for the registrars, who have to police who they sell to is ridiculous.

I bet they use Dell servers to send out the spam, should we require Dell to ensure that all sales are for legit reasons? What about Western Digital and Best Buy that sell all those hard drives to pedos?

It's a nice thought, but probably impossible, and definately illogical.

Re:More feel-good decisions, less real action (1)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 5 years ago | (#23243504)

Trying to hold ICANN accountable for the registrars, who have to police who they sell to is ridiculous.

Its not a question of ICANN being held responsible for the actions of their customers (the registrars). Its a question of ICANN actually holding registrars to the terms of registrar obligations [icann.org] in the registrar accreditation agreement [icann.org]. In particular, ICANN requires that the registrars maintain valid contact data for their customers, which they seldom do when selling to spammers.

I'm not asking for ICANN to "police" anyone. I'm just asking for them to actually require accredited registrars to meet the registrar obligations that they put forth. Obviously ICANN is not into law enforcement. However, ICANN does have the ability to restrict who can and cannot sell domains within the .com, .org, .net, and several other TLDs.

yes i put valid contact data on a domain (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 5 years ago | (#23245300)

say i have put some individual i paid $200 a month in cape verde islands as domain registrar. and icann held registrar to its agreement and get this individual's contact info. WHAT is icann going to do about this ? what is anyone going to do about this ?

Re:yes i put valid contact data on a domain (1)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 5 years ago | (#23245416)

ICANN has the ability to strip a registrar of their ability to sell domains in many of the largest TLDs. Indeed, that is exactly what the accreditation is about - it allows a registrar to sell domains in those TLDs. ICANN is supposed to - though almost never does - strip a registrar of their accreditation and ability to sell these domains when they fail to obey the rules.

It is by no means as punitive as a legal action, but it can be crippling for a registrar to lose their ability to sell .com domains, for example.

you STILL do not understand a thing (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 5 years ago | (#23245648)

its not about what registrar does. its about WHAT i do. if i put a cayman citizen as registrar in there, set up entire operation in his name, and neither icann nor wto nor us govt cant do shit about it, because whatever that is being done is LEGAL in cayman.

Re:More feel-good decisions, less real action (1)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | more than 5 years ago | (#23243928)

They can take your domain away if you provide false information on your whois which seems more extreme than revoking domains from spammers and criminals if you ask me.

To be honest, criminals probably buy the bulk of the domains being bought so that is probably why they're not that bothered about stopping them.

Re:More feel-good decisions, less real action (1)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 5 years ago | (#23244714)

They can take your domain away if you provide false information on your whois

Who can take your domain away?

ICANN won't do it. I can tell you that because I've filled out the bad WHOIS data form for dozens of domains and they've never been taken away by ICANN.

The registrars generally won't do it, either. Hell, they're making money off of the customer whose bad data they submitted. What is the incentive for them to fix it, unless the customer asked them to?

The problem lies with ICANN. They have set rules, but then they don't actually enforce them. There are registrars with demonstrated records of keeping bad WHOIS data - and of course the more prolific internet criminals know who they are. But yet these bad registrars never face any real consequences from ICANN.

Re:More feel-good decisions, less real action (4, Insightful)

Have Blue (616) | more than 5 years ago | (#23244394)

"I'm not going to sell you this domain because I disapprove of the purpose for which you will use it" is a dangerous position to take. What's happening here is just closing a loophole that allows domains to be used for free- a simple, clear problem.

Re:More feel-good decisions, less real action (1)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 5 years ago | (#23244640)

"I'm not going to sell you this domain because I disapprove of the purpose for which you will use it" is a dangerous position to take. What's happening here is just closing a loophole that allows domains to be used for free- a simple, clear problem.

The first problem with your statement is the fact that ICANN does not sell domains. I'm talking about problems with ICANN and how the regulate (or rather fail to regulate) the registrars that they are tasked with the regulation of.

It has nothing to do with whether or not ICANN gives a damn what domains are being used for - they've already shown they don't. It has to do with the fact that ICANN has laid out rules that registrars are supposed to be obliged to follow (see the link I posted previously). Those rules are being totally ignored and ICANN is choosing to take no action.

The only correlation to domain sales is that many of the internet criminals intentionally chose the registrars that are known violators of the ICANN registrar rules. This requires no foresight of potential domain usage by ICANN. I just ask that ICANN actually enforce the rules that they claim to hold registrars to - none of which have anything to do with registrars' customers' illegal activities.

percentages (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 5 years ago | (#23245268)

while serious, spam kings and internet crime is not impacting everyone on the net. however squatting is affecting EVERYone, whether they are startups trying to get a good domain or ordinary people trying to set up a family album site.

Re:percentages (1)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 5 years ago | (#23245478)

squatting is affecting EVERYone, whether they are startups trying to get a good domain or ordinary people trying to set up a family album site.


I disagree. How many people who are using the internet are looking to purchase a domain name, if they don't already own one? There are plenty of users on the internet who have zero interest in owning a domain name - for that matter there is still a large portion of internet users who wouldn't even know what to do with their own domain name, if it were given to them for free this afternoon.

On the other hand, though, how many email addresses don't receive spam of some sort anymore? The statistics of how much spam (as a percent of total internet email) is sent are staggering.

I don't see how you could possibly say that more people are affected by squatting than spam. Especially when you consider that the issue that ICANN is actually working on here is domain "tasting", not domain squatting. I could certainly agree that people who are typo-squatting are having a negative impact, but I can't see domain tasting having a significant impact on a meaningful portion of the internet user population.

Re:percentages (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 5 years ago | (#23245664)

same arguments can be put against internet crime in your context. each email receives spam. the people who are using decent services like gmail, or serious web hosts for email do not receive any noticeable amount of spam. first hand experience. its a choice matter, not inevitability.

Re:More feel-good decisions, less real action (1)

Dun Malg (230075) | more than 5 years ago | (#23246076)

I would be much more impressed with ICANN if they actually started punishing the registrars that are so blatantly making profit from internet crime. There is a long list of registrars that sell .com domains to spam kings like Kuvayev for him to sell drugs and pirated software.
Asking ICANN to police the legality of online vendors is like asking the Social Security Administration to police credit card fraud because, after all, you can't get a credit card without presenting a social security number, right?

In other words: get a clue, ICANN is neither empowered nor equipped to act in any sort of law enforcement capacity. They're a corporation (that's what the 'C' in ICANN stands for) not a government agency.

Appropriate tags: (1)

VeNoM0619 (1058216) | more than 5 years ago | (#23242844)

Appropriate tags:
suddenoutbreakofcommonsense

Re:Appropriate tags: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23244242)

Shut the fuck up faggot.

Hear hear (1)

jgalun (8930) | more than 5 years ago | (#23242878)

This happened to me a few weeks ago. It's a repugnant practice - and I am far from a knee-jerk, anti-corporate person. But just because my friend made the mistake of looking up our domain using NSI, and we needed it in a rush, we were forced to buy it from NSI, even though we could have gotten it for a fraction of the cost somewhere else.

The service that registrars provide is so basic, if someone can charge NSI's prices, it means that there is a market failure.

Re:Hear hear (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23243124)

This is exactly what this should stop. NSI is in-effect "tasting" the domain and if they return greater than 10% of their registrations they are stuck with a big price tag..

Think 6$ * how many time you stick it to them :)

Re:Hear hear (1)

mabhatter654 (561290) | more than 5 years ago | (#23245992)

exactly, services like NSI's will stop pretty quickly when they have to pay. Just guess lots of names you don't like and let them register away till they've depleted their marketable names to sell to real customers. They would have to register the domains under their shell companies with fake data. THEN ICANN can start cracking down on WhoIS data when they try to hide who's really buying up names. Doing it all at once would break things.

ICANN--not *quite* a bunch of useless cunts (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23242902)

I'm shocked, shocked.

Don't taste me, bro! (0, Offtopic)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 5 years ago | (#23243080)

"Is this thing on? Tasting, tasting, 1, 2, 3... SLURP!" -Tommy Smothers, Smothers Brothers LIVE at the Purple Onion

"In a nation-wide taste test, ICAAN's hamburgers were named the best in the country. Tasters said the burger had a certain "je ne sais quoi." In other news, scientists have identified "je ne sais quoi" as a lack of rat feces"
-Misquoted from Alex Fossella

"How does your Domain Taste??" -Digg on domain tasting [digg.com]

"But I don't LIKE spam!" -'Woman' in Monty python skit about the taste of spam.com [spam.com]

"A domain is the place that someone has people who work for them take care of. There's four kinds of domains: Domain of the King, Domain of the [insert name of some kind of Lord of the Rings monster here], Domain of the Public, and Domain of the Name. They have long been sought after by those in positions of power, such as kings or wiki creators. When it comes to domains, it's pretty much like this: in the right hands, everything is peachy. But in the wrong hands, vampires crawl from the bowels of the Earth and feast at our eyeballs." -Uncyclopedia on Domains [uncyclopedia.org]

"Taste is the Greek god of individual preference. Inbred son of Zeus and Apollo, Taste usually governs endless and pointless debates between retarded entities on internet forums. In sculptures and various other artworks he is depicted wearing a bean flavoured cape and ice-cream shoes, holding a banana-like sceptre." -Uncyclopedia on taste [uncyclopedia.org]

"Absolute catholicity of taste is not without its dangers. It is only an auctioneer who should admire all schools of art." -Oscar Wilde on taste [famous-quotes.com]

"Domain tasting is the practice of a domain name registrant using the five-day "grace period" at the beginning of the registration of an ICANN-regulated second level domain to test the marketability of the domain." - Wikipedia on Domain Tasting [wikipedia.org]

"On the streets these days, a dime bag of kittens costs a pretty penny." - Oscar Wilde on slashdot's Offtopic moderation [uncyclopedia.org]

Squatting = 5 Days??? (1)

iamhigh (1252742) | more than 5 years ago | (#23243100)

I thought squatting was a little more long term than that. Surely someone has come up with a clever name for it by now... but it certainly isn't squatting.

Re:Squatting = 5 Days??? (5, Insightful)

JustCallMeRich (1185429) | more than 5 years ago | (#23243496)

Imagine if you will, a place where 5 days lasts forever. A week never goes by. A lawn never gets mowed.

Unpossible, you say? Not if you are really a sham company who buys a domain name and returns it 4.9 days later, only to be immediately picked back up again by another sham company which happens to be located in the same place as the first, and again only holds the domain name for another 4.9 days to again return it for a refund and have it immediately picked back up again by a third sham company - a mirror image of the past two, which again holds the domain for 4.9 days, only again to return it for a full refund, at which time the first sham company picks it up again, starting the cycle all over again, ad infinitum - and at $0.00 net cost to the companies.

It's not that squatting = 5 days, but that this process continues for years. Making that $0.20 fee non-refundable means that now every 4.9 days in the above merry-go-round, there is a 20 cent charge for that domain name. What used to be free to do will now cost $1.50 a month - PER DOMAIN NAME if they keep doing this, which, obviously they will not be able to afford.

Chances are they will now have to cough up some hard cash to actually register the million or so domain names they have, or let them expire and be free amongst the intertubes yet again for legitamite buyers to catch.

Re:Squatting = 5 Days??? (1)

RealGrouchy (943109) | more than 5 years ago | (#23244952)

So why is it allowed that three clone companies are allowed to have registrar status?

- RG>

Re:Squatting = 5 Days??? (1)

JustCallMeRich (1185429) | more than 5 years ago | (#23245450)

You don't need to be a registrar to buy a domain name, sample it for 4.9 days, and then return it to get your money back. Anybody can do this if their registrar is willing to play ball.

The three sham companies can all register through a fourth sham registrar to make this easier for them. They don't have to be an official registrar, but can do it as a domain reseller. Many big hosting companies have reseller accounts that include some type of domain reseller service. I am doing this now and have never been asked for anything other than money.

Re:Squatting = 5 Days??? (1)

wootcat (1151911) | more than 5 years ago | (#23245238)

That's assuming they keep to their current practices. If they indeed intended to hold onto them "forever", they wouldn't mess with shifting the names from business to business and just buy them outright.

Re:Squatting = 5 Days??? (1)

JustCallMeRich (1185429) | more than 5 years ago | (#23245684)

Correct. That is how a normal domain sale goes. You buy your name, set up your site.....PROFIT! Or so the theory goes.

But they are in the high profit business of reselling domain names they "own" (in reality they are just tying them up indefinately and not paying anything for them). They may pay nothing for the domain name while they have it in their shell game - but when an offer comes in to buy it, they "buy" the name for, say $6, then transfer it to the person who wants it for their asking price - maybe $600+ as an example. $594 in profit. Not bad.

Nice business model when you can have millions of items 'in stock' that don't cost anything for you until you sell them for a huge profit - and a virtual monopoly on the items you own.

excellent (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 5 years ago | (#23245356)

though im working in web hosting field since 2003, i havent seen this issue explained that good and that short. actually some of what you told, i even didnt know.

Re:Squatting = 5 Days??? (1)

johannesg (664142) | more than 5 years ago | (#23245524)

Your post reads as if it were written for Don Lafontaine ;-) Not that that is a bad thing, of course...

"In a world...

Where 5 days last forever...

A week never goes by...

A lawn never gets mowed..."

Re:Squatting = 5 Days??? (1)

mabhatter654 (561290) | more than 5 years ago | (#23246028)

you're thinking of people that buy unregistered trademark names like "McDonalds" hoping the company affected will pay up big bucks. ICANN put rules thru several years ago to give domain names to registered trademark owners if they think squatting is going on.

This is great news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23243104)

It's great to see ICANN moving to wipe out one of the internet's top three annoying plagues. The other two being spammers and Verisign.

spam fund? (1)

ohzero (525786) | more than 5 years ago | (#23243138)

Since alot of these 'pump and dump" domains are used for spam, Maybe icann could put any fees collected from known squatters into a national research fund to combat spam via infrastructure and development initiatives. That would be very cool.

Re:spam fund? (1)

thogard (43403) | more than 5 years ago | (#23246104)

Back in the day when they first started charging for domains ($70 for 2 years), a major chunk of that went to fund research from the National Science Foundation however it was declared an "illegal tax".

Doubtful (0)

Kingrames (858416) | more than 5 years ago | (#23243158)

There was news recently that the George W. Bush Library foundation (whatever its real name is, I'm unsure of) was having a great deal of difficulty with domain name squatters who had stolen every possible website they would want to put his library's web page on.

and the worst part: they're all democrats and refuse to sell, and will likely populate those web pages with actual content.

This move is likely an attempt to give them the boot so that the government can steal those websites.

Someone should perhaps forward the word on.

If that backfires it could force all of those squatters to actually put web pages up there for all to see.

Judge Keeps Google on the Domain-Tasting Hook (1)

Speequinox (662721) | more than 5 years ago | (#23243182)

A federal district court recently refused to dismiss cybersquatting claims against Google [lawofgoogle.com] based on its AdSense for Domains [google.com] program. The plaintiff is accusing Google of "trafficking in" domain names via that program, which allegedly brings Google profits from large-scale domain-tasting activities. As the blog post in the first link reports, Google has recently made some policy changes in response to widespread domain-tasting activities.

Now it is the time to charge for email too (1)

HaaPoo (696098) | more than 5 years ago | (#23243642)

... this way spam may be reduced too, even if they charge .01$ for each email, the spammers have to reduce/stop sending spams.

Again, wrong (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 5 years ago | (#23244070)

How do you bill for that?
How do you collect?
Who gets the money?

If you can figure that out, and allow people to send 2500 email a month for no charge, it might work.

Of course, spammers will find away around it, like have other peoples computers send the emails.

Re:Now it is the time to charge for email too (1)

Icarus1919 (802533) | more than 5 years ago | (#23244718)

Spammers aren't sending the emails; computers taken over by malware are. Thus, under your plan, the spammers will be charged nothing, and hundreds of thousands of users will be f'ed over. You may say forget them, the bill will be a wake up call to clean their computers. While it's true, in an ideal world these people would have installed software to prevent malware, this is not an ideal world and there are people out there who are not at all computer savvy. We shouldn't punish them for that.

Re:Now it is the time to charge for email too (1)

mabhatter654 (561290) | more than 5 years ago | (#23246160)

Perhaps things would work better if we did punish people for that?

But in reality, that would never work out. Who decides your computer is secure? All the corporate ISPs running ISA firewall? Does that cut out all Wii, PS3, iphone, etc from getting on their network without a "trusted client". Does that stop a small company from running squirrel mail servers and allow big telco to require all the email be hosted off THEIR servers?

My favorite idea would be to do time sinked emails. Make a connection take 5 seconds to send each mail and allow only one address per attempt. So normal people would be slightly delayed and not even notice. Spammers and hacked machines would slow to a crawl. Hacked machines would get fixed when people complain (but not be broken by the ISP) and spammers would go out of business quickly.

What we going to do with those Castro guys now? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23244020)

See, the three biggest domain squatters are here in Miami, and they probably are some pathetic fat Cubans, who have no idea how a computer works, and think the U.S. are the land of the opportunities of stay chilling, don't work, and make big bucks from the government.. (The same thing, the 4 million, or so, Cubans living in Florida think...)
Now, without their squatting business, they will have to go back to make thousands of cash-collecting babies, which they just throw on the streets like garbage, so the kids can become criminals and hookers, while their parents take the social services support money...

Will this also stop Networks Solutions abuses? (1)

martinlp (904606) | more than 5 years ago | (#23244028)

I wonder if this will also make Network Solutions think twice about registering a domain [domainnamenews.com] every time a whois search is done on their site so that you can not register that domain at any other registrar?

doesn't go far enough (1)

Eil (82413) | more than 5 years ago | (#23244054)

Domain squatters are by far one of the biggest things holding back the Internet. Squatting has gotten so bad that the name of your company has to be complete gibberish in order to match an available domain name. Just try coming up with a company name that has a similar domain name available. You'll find that most of the domains you try either have some sort of spam link portal or a "buy this domain for $200!" page. Only a few are actual web sites. If you don't believe me, try it.

This "domain tasting" thing is a very small problem in comparison.

I think that in order to retain a domain name, you should have to prove that you're using it in an ethical and legal manner. ARIN makes my web hosting company justify their usage of IP addresses, so ICANN should do the same for domain names. Of course, working out exactly how to define a web site that's "using" a domain name versus one that is not might be tricky, but there has got to be a way to curb 90% of the squatting that's going on and take back our Internet from the scammers.

Re:doesn't go far enough (1)

thogard (43403) | more than 5 years ago | (#23245608)

Australia doesn't have this problem this week. They require that you have a registered business name or some other reason for having the domain name and as a result it has kept the com.au domain name space fairly clean how ever soon they will be changing the rules so they can make more money by allowing the criminals in.

New domain rush? (1)

DuckWizard (744428) | more than 5 years ago | (#23244114)

I wonder if this will cause a new domain rush, when all these desirable domains are flooded back on to the market (since they will no longer be cost effective for link farmers). Who will snap up potato.com, couch.com, desk.com, etc. when the spammers let go?

Re:New domain rush? (1)

thePowerOfGrayskull (905905) | more than 5 years ago | (#23244720)

Probably only to a limited extent - after all, domains along those liens are very likely not 'tasted', but registered permanently because of their potential value.

The Little Blue Internet That Could (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23244132)

I think ICANN, I think ICANN...

Nifty - Until you do some math (2, Informative)

cyberfunkr (591238) | more than 5 years ago | (#23245024)

Let's see: 365 days a year, and they can only hold them for 5 days, so that's 73 times a year to cycle a name (give or take). Let's just round it to 75 because I'm cool like that.

So .20 a cycle at 75 cycles per year means it'll cost a whole $15.00 per year to taste a domain name.

Sure, with 11 million domains to cycle through that makes for a pretty big number. But, Considering that you can sell useful domains for anywhere from $20 to $20,000... They can still keep cycling all they want. Just the less popular names will finally be released in a year when they can't turn a profit.

And if they sell better names for a little more, it can still offset the cheap names so don't expect this to even see a dent for at least one year, but probably closer to three.

Re:Nifty - Until you do some math (1)

JustCallMeRich (1185429) | more than 5 years ago | (#23245918)

15 bucks * 11,000,000 domain names = 150,000,000 bucks overhead per year.

150,000,000 bucks / 20,000 bucks = 7,500 high end domain names a year they need to sell to break even. Or about 20 per day. I don't think that is happening.

- versus -

0 bucks for 11,000,000 domain names tasted indefintely = 0 bucks overhead

1 sale per year = PROFIT!

Re:Nifty - Until you do some math (1)

Wesley Felter (138342) | more than 5 years ago | (#23245922)

it'll cost a whole $15.00 per year to taste a domain name.
It only costs about $7/year to register a domain outright. But the tasters are making less than $7/year in revenue from each domain, so they can't afford to either register them or continue tasting.

other option (1)

Fuzzums (250400) | more than 5 years ago | (#23245150)

I thought shooting then on sight would be a nice and permanent solution to the problem, but I can live with billing them 2M a month ;)

Its about time (1)

Phiu-x (513322) | more than 5 years ago | (#23245542)

Because I tried over 20 domain names for a new business I wanted to start, and could not ONCE found a semi-decent name. Even obscure, nonsense names, they were all taken. I say this rule will only help a bit, they are not gonna drop their good domain names, only the semi-decent will be abandoned. But still, it'll help. They should require that a site must have a certain % of content (beside ads) that is related to de domain name for at least x amount of time or they can deny it. Like a "probation" period. Is it feasible ?

$13.2M/mo (1)

LightwaveNet (229843) | more than 5 years ago | (#23245614)

"If the ICANN board ratifies this position in June, those top three squatters will be getting a monthly bill for $2.2M."

Shouldn't that be $13.2M/mo since they'd have to drop and repay the $0.20 ~6x a month.

Domain name != website (or any other service)... (1)

neurocutie (677249) | more than 5 years ago | (#23245828)

They should require that a site must have a certain % of content (beside ads) that is related to de domain name for at least x amount of time or they can deny it. Like a "probation" period. Is it feasible ?

It seems that some people are forgetting that a domain name has nothing to do with a website. That is, hosting a "legit" and "useful" website using a domain name is NOT the only reasonable activity that demonstrated "non-squatting".

A domain name is simple a human language token for an system of IP addresses. Those IP addresses could be used for ANYTHING and on any port. For example, I may wish to test and develop a unique TCP/IP protocol/service and simply want a name to help me and my colleagues across the country who are helping.

And neither www.DOMAINNAME.X nor DOMAINNAME.X needs to resolve to anything useful.

Nevermind that it is perfectly reasonable to register a domain name and then take one's time to develop a website or some other usage of that domain name (e.g. a new foundation that registers a domain and it could easily take a few years to get a real website going (I've been there). Yet there is no ill intent or squatting in these cases.

So its going to be real hard to define what is squatting and what isn't. I suppose one could develop some rules to get the worse offenders, but it won't be easy...
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