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BizReport : Domain Names : February 19, 2007

Grace period for domain name registration being abused

A grace period, which was originally put in place to allow purchasers to double-check their proposed internet address, has proved a lucrative loophole for entrepreneurs and spammers.

by Helen Leggatt

Wily entrepreneurs are registering web names, ascertaining their profitability and then dropping them, if they don’t measure up. The practice is called “tasting” and it’s on the increase causing businesses to miss out on obtaining their desired website, as they are repeatedly snapped up.

During December, 2006, around 1.2 million names a day were tasted, compared to just 7,200 in 2004, reports Name Intelligence Inc. At any given time it is estimated around 6 million names are tied up.

“The system really doesn’t work to the advantage of people who have legitimate reasons for wanting names,” said Frederick Felman, chief marketing officer with MarkMonitor, a brand-protection firm (via “It allows people with criminal or speculative intent to dominate.”

It is also believed that spammers take advantage of the five day grace period by constantly changing domain names to avoid detection. In the time it takes to track them down, they have dropped the name and moved on.

“We see them using hundreds and hundreds of domains, and even at $5 a domain, that’s costing them thousands of dollars, which they probably don’t want to be losing,” said Matt Sergeant, senior anti-spam technologist at MessageLabs Ltd.

Tags: domain names, Internet

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