New program would let registrars trade-in domains they no longer want.
VeriSign has filed papers with ICANN proposing a “Domain Name Exchange” that would let .net domain name owners trade in their domains for others. The stated purpose of the exchange is to allow service providers that offer packages for less than a year to change in domains when customers are no longer using them:
Today when a registrant terminates a package of services from a registrar after, for example, an introductory 1 or 3 month period, the registrar is forced to recoup the investment in the associated domain via monetization or the secondary market. The domain exchange will allow a registrar to offer another registrant a package that sits on top of that same registration using a new domain…
Many web hosting companies offer monthly packages and could take advantage of this exchange.
In its filing (pdf), VeriSign acknowledges that some people may view this as an opportunity for “domain tasting”, whereby a registrant could register a domain and exchange it for another if it doesn’t produce enough revenue:
Some members of the Intellectual Property constituency and certain registrars whose primary business is brand management have raised concerns similar to those raised in the development of policy concerning the use of the Add Grace Period (“AGP”).
However, VeriSign is proposing several measures to quell these fears:
-Allow exchanges only every 30 days
-Not allow a grace period following an exchange
-Publish a report that lists the domain names exchanged as part of a registration
-Create a WHOIS/WHOWAS record for all domain names exchanged under the Domain Name Exchange Service.
The “WhoWas” service VeriSign refers to (pdf) would only include registry whois information, not registrar information such as the registrant name.