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Associated Press Publishes Domain Name "Kiting" (Domain Tasting) Story
Will the excesses of domain tasting bring down the hammer on someone?
engine




msg:3257010
 5:21 pm on Feb 19, 2007 (gmt 0)

It's not often you can compare Internet addresses with clothing, but a growing practice comes close, contributing to a global shortage in good names.

Entrepreneurs have been taking advantage of a five-day grace period to sample millions of domain names, keeping the relative few that might generate advertising revenues and dropping the rest before paying. It's akin to buying new clothes on a charge card only to return them for a full refund after wearing them to a big party.

Domains: "Kiting" Still Popular [usatoday.com]

 

Manga




msg:3257177
 8:17 pm on Feb 19, 2007 (gmt 0)

"The system really doesn't work to the advantage of people who have legitimate reasons for wanting names," Frederick Felman, chief marketing officer with MarkMonitor, a brand-protection firm. "It allows people with... speculative intent to dominate."

Why is speculation not a 'legitimate reason' for buying domains?

Webwork




msg:3257191
 8:28 pm on Feb 19, 2007 (gmt 0)

Since this is being published by the Associated Press it's interesting to observe how different media outlets are entitling their version of the story. From FoxNews.com [foxnews.com] distro: "Cybersquatters Exploit Web-Name Trial-Period Loophole"

Trademark typo squatting is the dirty underbelly of the domain tasting and parking industry and there are lots of directions to point a finger of blame. ICANN for not stepping in when tasting ramped up into the millions of domains a week. VeriSign for not charging a restocking fee. The parking companies that don't require prescreening for trademark typos. The companies apparently formed in alliance with some parking companies, that taste domains by using the parking companies systems. The feed providers for providing the financial incentive for the practice and not knocking out the players for repeatedly stepping over the line.

About 2+ years ago I predicted that the day would come when a major brand holder - Disney, a bank, a car company - would file a RICO type action (joint enterprise in violation of law; Joint Enterprise to violate Anti-Cybersquatting Act; etc.) against ALL the players in the trademark trafficking scheme (tasters, parking firms, feed providers) and not drop the lawsuit until more than a pound of flesh was shed somewhere. I think the easiest target will remain the parking companies that have forged relationships with the tasting enterprise.

I'm sure any company helping the big tasters to profit are working on their defenses - for example, "there's so many domains submitted we can't catch them all", a/k/a plausible deniability - but, at some point, when the same wrong action occurs endlessly, the argument that prevails has to be that the tasting and tasting monetization model is so inherently and unavoidably damaging that it either must be abandoned or those who are party to the process must be held to a strict liability type standard. In other words, if you can't make it safe you will be held to account for each and every bad outcome, each and every trademark typo that you enter into a parking monetarization status for even a minute.

Domain Tasting + Parking: At some point, the notion of making hay whilst the sun shines - raking in all the typo parking profits before the bomb is dropped - throws off the strand of hay that breaks the camel's back.

[edited by: Webwork at 8:41 pm (utc) on Feb. 19, 2007]

internetheaven




msg:3257194
 8:31 pm on Feb 19, 2007 (gmt 0)

Ahhh! I wondered why the .com of every single name I tried had already been bought. For the past few weeks even the most obscure domain names have the .com already purchased but no others.

How long does it take to come back on the market once someone dumps it?

Kirby




msg:3257284
 10:21 pm on Feb 19, 2007 (gmt 0)

>I think the easiest target will remain the parking companies that have forged relationships with the tasting enterprise.

They are almost all one in the same these days.

dakuma




msg:3257459
 3:35 am on Feb 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

I tried to register the name "pixelnomics.com" a few months ago, and it was taken.. go figure.

walkman




msg:3257489
 4:28 am on Feb 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

too late now but there should have been a ban on wholesale registering IMO.

Visit Thailand




msg:3257491
 4:42 am on Feb 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

Is my brain not working today but is this not simple to stop? Surely if the ad compnies only allow ads to be shown on domains which have been live a minimum amount of time.

I would love to see some real stats on what measure of traffic comes from type in. It must be big for this industry to exist but how big exactly?

outland88




msg:3257511
 5:33 am on Feb 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

>Ahhh! I wondered why the .com of every single name I tried had already been bought.<

I checked about 100 domains and I couldn't believe they were all taken. Checking out about 20 they were just advertising dumps. It's really ridiculous.

local




msg:3257514
 5:44 am on Feb 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

>Ahhh! I wondered why the .com of every single name I tried had already been bought.<

I checked about 100 domains and I couldn't believe they were all taken. Checking out about 20 they were just advertising dumps. It's really ridiculous.

I tried to buy some land in New york yesterday, but it was all taken. It's really ridiculous.

amznVibe




msg:3257516
 5:54 am on Feb 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

If the fortune 500 would stop using .com like it was their only option it would get rid of the stigma on the other TLDs and this problem would be over.

Still, I don't understand why there is a 5 day trial period. I could see a 24 hour grace for accidental typos on registration (maybe even 12 hour) but five days? Why in this day and age?

[edited by: amznVibe at 5:55 am (utc) on Feb. 20, 2007]

kwngian




msg:3257525
 6:10 am on Feb 20, 2007 (gmt 0)


I think there is a fee involved even for the 4-5 days of domain tasting. There is only one registrar that I heard of that don't charge and that is for 'accidental' registration like mispelled words.

Besides you don't see the full activities of the domain until the 3rd or 4th day due to DNS propagation so domain tasters I guess have only 1-2 days to know the full potential of the domains they are buying.

Visit Thailand




msg:3257529
 6:21 am on Feb 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

Is there anywhere you know of where we can find out more about the actual traffic that comes to mistyped and parked domains.

I can understand a few or lot of errors on a popular domain like google.com

but how many people mistype domain names or even just type in thisiswhatIwant.com?

grelmar




msg:3257575
 9:29 am on Feb 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

I picked up the AP column after it had been fed through Wired, and came by here to see if the discussion had been picked up.

Off hand, I would almost guess that this is the beginning of the end of Domain Tasting as we know it. It's like the stock market, when you see the public, small time investor, move into a market sector en mass, then you know that sector is on it;s last legs.

With AP picking up on something that has been going on for a few years (and I've seen the practice discussed in here before), then you know it's reaching a point of obviousness that the regulators almost have to do something.

So, the question is, where are the regulators going to take it?

Eliminate the 5 day grace?

Leave the 5 day grace, but void it if anything is hosted on the domain during that 5 days?

Some other regulatory strategy?

r3nz0




msg:3257658
 12:23 pm on Feb 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

Yesterday i was searching for a new domain,

I typed in; Fight against and guess what ;) A little search engine investigation told me that this domain has expired in Nov last year. Now i was more intrested in the expired domain lists, ofcouz.

I went through different expired lists at different dates and it is difficult. But still there are names that will become free in the future.. the only thing you should have is some luck und wishfull knowledge about language, ie what people type in...

I just opened 3 browser windows, one with google/yahoo, one with a fast whois tool and one of youre provider; where you can register in seconds!

Besure you add some value at your new World wide typed in domain! :)

maherphil




msg:3257842
 4:05 pm on Feb 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

I would love to see some real stats on what measure of traffic comes from type in.

Yeah so this is the big question that no one can answer. See since type in traffic shows up as having 'no refferer' and also MANY other sources of traffic show the same, then its very hard to get an accurate amount as to how much traffic is TRUELY type in.

Beyond that, even if you just register a domain and have it parked and am getting stats on it, then you could be getting all your traffic from bots, or from other domainers wanting to register your domain and NOT a legitimate 'customer' like domainers want you to think.

As the web gets more dangerous with phishing and viruses, I believe people will be less likely to type in domains and would rather use a search engine that has a Site Advisor like service that let's you know if a site is trust worthy or not.

Domain Registrars are mining the miners right now and the crash of the domain market is coming soon. Sell your domains that don't make money today!

trotline




msg:3257852
 4:11 pm on Feb 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

I have been trying to buy dropped domain names related to my businesses for the last few years.

I thought <the registrars> had legitimate ways to bid on these names. I have participated regularly until a few months ago when I decided it was a sham.

A consistent pattern I have observed is that anytime a premium name or an "almost" premium name comes up for drop that it gets "renewed" a day before it drops. This occurs EVERY time one of these names comes up for drop.

Since the entire operation is cloaked from a whois perspective I can not verify the legitimacy of the operation. The ones I remember to check on weeks later are still parked instead reverting back to their old web site.

The ones I have managed to buy, even with page rank and links, have virtually no traffic. I of, course, have no way to "taste" them for 5 days.

This is deception on the part of the registrar or parking industry as far as I am concerned. Something needs to be done soon because they are claiming all dropping names of any value. People with legitimate interest in the names are closed out. Can't even join an auction on them.

[edited by: encyclo at 4:23 pm (utc) on Feb. 20, 2007]
[edit reason] specifics, see terms of service [/edit]

Kirby




msg:3257967
 5:59 pm on Feb 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

Yes, its a sham, but its obscenely profitable so it will continue until the courts drive a stake through their hearts.

I had to buy the .org version of my trademark from a company wholly owned by a registrar. They originally asked a ridiculous amount until I documented my mark and cc'd my IP attorney. They knew they would lose, but were smart enough to drop the price to just less than what my minimum legal fees would be. They are very good at all aspects of this game.

I would love to see this become a class action. This would be a heavy weight title fight though, as the players (they have deep pockets and are well connected) are not going to back down anytime soon.

Webwork




msg:3258035
 7:01 pm on Feb 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

Nothing quite so levels the playing field as access to a jury, which is one reason why so much money, lobbying and effort has been poured into restricting access to courts and to trial by jury. So long as the little guy has access to a jury of his peers there's a chance, however slight, of balancing the scales. Fear the loss of that access as it's the last best chance any ordinary Joe or Jane has in a world where money continues to buy access to decisionmaking and rule making power.

This public service message is brought to you by Joe and Jane. We now return to our ordinarily scheduled programming.

chicagohh




msg:3258162
 9:07 pm on Feb 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

There are so many good names available at reg fee right now that I just don't understand most of the posts in this thread.

Webwork gave a great tip last week about finding valuable domain names - how many people took him up on it? I found many names that were available that were almost exactly like names that sold for $2000 to $8500.

I guess there will always be those who lack the gift of foresight, but have an abundant skill of whining.

farmboy




msg:3258481
 3:03 am on Feb 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

I would love to see some real stats on what measure of traffic comes from type in. It must be big for this industry to exist but how big exactly?

The recent Business 2.0 article (that was discussed here on WW by the way) offered a glimpse into that world.

That the people in that business held a convention of sorts in Florida and were courted by Yahoo, Google, etc. tells me (1)it's very profitable to those who have secured good parked domains and (2) the practice is not going away anytime soon.

FarmBoy

eastwright




msg:3258737
 11:56 am on Feb 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

I always wonder why there is too much hate about buying domains for resale and parking pages.

No doubt, each domain name has a value. No doubt, different domain names have different value. Yet the price of any asset is tied to its value. The free market is the only way to implement this tie. Any artificial attempt to regulate prices results in a black market. Marxists did this and the outcome is well known.

You may hate parked pages, but it is legal to setup a web site with ads being the only content. You may question quality of type-in traffic, but it is advertiser who decides whether the traffic worth the money. And advertisers are willingly buying this traffic. That means the ads work. Ads work means people get the products and services they need. Everybody gets happy the consumer, the advertiser, the domain owner. Yes, I know, not everybody. There is always somebody, who believes he or she could use the domain name for better and more respectable purpose.

A consistent pattern I have observed is that anytime a premium name or an "almost" premium name comes up for drop that it gets "renewed" a day before it drops. This occurs EVERY time one of these names comes up for drop.
...
People with legitimate interest in the names are closed out. Can't even join an auction on them.

As I understand, you are not aware of domain catching auction services. I would suggest setting up an account with Snapnames (it is not the only service, but as far as edicational purposes matter, they provide most transparent auctions with a list of bidders and bidding history). This way you may discover why it happens that premium and "almost" premium names get "renewed" a day before they drop. You will get the first hand knowledge about both the process and the price of the "renewal".

davezan




msg:3259616
 12:54 am on Feb 22, 2007 (gmt 0)

An "interesting" portion of that news article posted here:

The department store chain Neiman Marcus Group even filed a federal lawsuit last year accusing the registration company Dotster Inc. of tasting hundreds of names meant to lure Internet users who mistype Web addresses. At one point, the lawsuit said, the misspelled NeimuMarcus.com featured ads for Target, Nordstrom and other rivals.

David Steele, an attorney representing the retailer, said Neiman Marcus could have placed ads on those sites as well, but "should Neiman Marcus have to pay ... for directing people back to their website?"

The two parties recently agreed to settle, though Steele said details won't be announced until at least this week (Dotster declined comment). He said his law firm, Christie, Parker & Hale LLP, also was preparing litigation against other tasters.


sailorjwd




msg:3263323
 5:31 pm on Feb 25, 2007 (gmt 0)

Just noticed some company in the Bahamas has bought up the mispellings of my domain name.

I never thought I could be so important.

These guys must be running out of ideas.

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