ICANN policy change leads to drastic drop in domain tasting.
ICANN released a report (pdf) today that shows a 99.7% drop in domain tasting since adding new penalties to the practice. “Domain tasting” refers to registering a domain name and then returning it for a full refund during the first five days of registration.
The data show that deletes during the grace period (which were primarily tasting prior to the changes) is down 99.7% from June 2008 to April 2009, the first month that all major registries implemented the policy change.
Nearly 17.7M domain names were tasted across all TLDs in June 2008. Only 58,218 were deleted during the grace period this past April. .Com grace period deletes fell from 15.7M to 37,519.
The current rules allow a registrar to return up to 10% of their “net new registrations” each month. Returns about that amount are subject to both the registry fee of about $7 and the $.18-.20 ICANN fee.
I’m somewhat surprised to see the number drop this much, but perhaps domain tasters are regrouping and creating models to work within the new guidelines.