Domain tasting is down, but the registration game is merely changing.
ICANN is reporting that domain name tasting is down 99.7% since it implemented new policies to thwart it. Tasting is registering a domain name to test for traffic, and returning it within five days for a full refund if it doesn’t get enough traffic.
The new policies limited the number of domains a registrar could return for a refund. This changed the domain tasting model on its head and eliminated most tasting overnight.
But that’s about to change. It won’t exactly be tasting per se, but the days of seeing decent domain names drop and not be snapped up right away by large portfolio holders are about to end. Remember, domain tasting is a statistical game, and it used to be easy: register everything and see what made money. Now registrars are limited to how many domains they can return, so they need higher accuracy with their initial registrations. And they’re getting there, thanks to data provided by a number of sources. Domain Name Wire is aware of at least one highly reliable data source being offered to domain name registrars that will enable them to register domain names with a good understanding of exactly how much traffic they get. So hold on.
In another interesting note, ICANN’s latest report shows exception requests filed by registrars. These exception requests are filed with the registrar in an attempt to get full refunds for batches of domain names due to extraordinary circumstances. Most of the exception requests were due to fraud, but .com registry VeriSign rejected them, saying fraud is not an “extraordinary event”. One example: in July Moniker requested a refund on 6,992 domain names citing PayPal fraud and phishing. It was denied.