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ICANN: Domain Front Running Generally "Misunderstandings"

Security and Stability Advisory Committee of ICANN

   
11:41 am on Feb 17, 2008 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator engine is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month Best Post Of The Month



An Internet committee investigating suspicious domain name transactions has found no evidence that insider information is being used to snatch desired Internet addresses to make money off the individual or business that actually wants to register them.

The committee said the 120 claims of "domain name front running" it reviewed generally resulted from misunderstandings about how the domain name industry works.

"When Internet users are unable to distinguish among different market activities, they often appear to conclude that they have fallen victim to a domain name front runner," the committee said in a new report.

ICANN: Domain Front Running Generally "Misunderstandings" [ap.google.com]

Related:
ICANN: Domain Tasting "May Be Causing Problems"
[webmasterworld.com...]

1:22 pm on Feb 17, 2008 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



That' funny.

"Its all in your head. There is no collusion. Go back to sleep."

With claims like that it undermines the public integrity in that organization.

3:28 pm on Feb 17, 2008 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator goodroi is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



After reading the full article I don't see an issue. I would believe that most of the general public does not understand the process and thus makes false assumptions. When you factor in the millions or should I say tens of millions of domains being "tasted" every month it is not surprising that people would think that someone is overlooking their shoulders and stealing "their" domain.
3:35 pm on Feb 17, 2008 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



Arthur C. Clarke: "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."

Me: "Any sufficiently advanced scam is indistinguishable from marketing".

4:14 pm on Feb 17, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



It depends what they mean by generally but this announcement can also be seen as an admission that front running does happen (but maybe on a very small scale). I wonder what they are doing in cases that do not fall under the generally rule.

They are right that tasting is a bigger problem, hopefully their 20c fee will stop that. It should do given that tasting relies on it being free, although maybe it will still be profitable for more selective tasting.

7:00 pm on Feb 17, 2008 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member swa66 is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



- I see no reason not to charge to full price for any used domain: abolish tasting forever!

- I do understand how the domainname business works, and I have personally seen the following:

  • one of my .com domains had all the other global TLDs unregistered.
  • I registered the .org as a protective measure
  • Minutes later the .net, and a few of the "fake" global country TLDs became unavailable (I tried to register the .net) .
  • a few days later they all were free again.

    So it's very clear:
    - tasting of domains related to those being registered (at a major registrar).
    - done by those capable of getting near real time registration data

    But it's all our imagination. They're going to make more money on .pdf, .exe, ...

  • 2:10 am on Feb 18, 2008 (gmt 0)

    WebmasterWorld Senior Member kaled is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



    QUESTION
    Is there a single legitimate reason why any organization should want to, or be entitled to test domain names for a few days free of charge?

    It seems to me that the reason for the existence of domain names seems to have been forgotten. Domain names are supposed to facilitate access to websites, they are not supposed to be a commodity in themselves.

    If an individual or organization cannot afford $5.00 for a domain name, they are surely incapable of publishing unique content - in that case they have no legitimate entitlement to the domain name (other than protection of trademark rights, etc.)

    A $5.00 non-refundable minimum charge for registration would kill this loathsome practice dead.

    Kaled.

    6:02 am on Feb 18, 2008 (gmt 0)

    10+ Year Member



    Domain names are supposed to facilitate access to websites

    Even ICANN doesn't state what domain names are "supposed to do" except to
    resolve to an IP address.

    Basically, ICANN said they don't see evidence of third parties "eavesdropping"
    on a user who is searching for a possibly available domain name in a registrar.
    It is rather hard to make such a conclusion without "proof" to back it up.

    OTOH, they are aware that this is becoming a problem that can't be ignored.
    One of their committees recommended making the $0.20 fee nonrefundable to
    a registrar availing of the Add/Grace Period, which is/was intended to address
    misspellings that do happen. (handled some of that myself...)

    There'll be more to come. Keep checking this saga.

    David

    7:44 am on Feb 18, 2008 (gmt 0)

    10+ Year Member



    It seems that the ICANN discussions are suffering from dissembly-argument fatigue. The heart of the issue should be the registration process: while it is an evolved system that really had the interests of domain-name buyers in mind, others have learned how to "game" it for profit. Thus the registration process should change.

    Tasting and kiting are speculative tactics that interfere with/leech from honest business practices; if they won't be penalised, at least they shouldn't be free.

    [edited by: Josefu at 7:45 am (utc) on Feb. 18, 2008]

    2:11 pm on Feb 18, 2008 (gmt 0)

    WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



    Well with Network Solutions clearly being involved in front running, the claims of ICANN look exceedingly dubious.

    As for the 20c fee, PIR's action on .org last year really closed down the domain tasters and auction registrars who were effectively buying the complete drop for .org. I can't post the hoster stats here due to the charter but the difference between some hosters before and after the fee went into effect is amazing. These hosters each went from over 100K or so .orgs to a few thousand in the space of a month.

    Regards...jmcc

    3:52 pm on Feb 18, 2008 (gmt 0)

    10+ Year Member



    Couple of years ago I checked the availability for a domain. The next day the domain was taken. Today this domain is offered as a Premium Domain Name for $2,088.00.

    Just my experience...

    4:00 pm on Feb 18, 2008 (gmt 0)

    WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



    "Its all in your head. There is no collusion. Go back to sleep."

    Exactly. This doesn't convince me at all that front running doesn't exist. I believe I have a pretty good grasp of the way buying a domain works.
    Basically, ICANN said they don't see evidence of third parties "eavesdropping"
    on a user who is searching for a possibly available domain name in a registrar.
    It is rather hard to make such a conclusion without "proof" to back it up.

    I'll be resending my list of URLs to ICANN to investigate because I have a log of all the URLs I checked for availability and lost by the end of the day. Is it "proof"? No, I have no way of getting exact "proof"... is it more than a coincidence? Yep. Oh, and they are all still "parked" at a certain host where I used to GO.
    "Let's keep it moving folks... nothing to see here."
    12:29 am on Feb 19, 2008 (gmt 0)

    WebmasterWorld Administrator ergophobe is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



    My wife calls me 20 minutes ago. "I want domain1.com and domain2.com" but I don't have the passwords for our account at GoodRegistrar.com

    Okay, I log into GoodRegistrar.com. "Hmmm... those are taken. Where are you looking?"
    "I'm at EvilRegistrar.com."
    "Oh, never use EvilRegistrar.com. They are a major hassle, not to mention $35/domain name compared to less than $10 at GoodRegistrar.com. Anyway, let's look at the Whois info."
    Tappety tap click tappety tap click tap click
    "Hmm... the registrar is EvilRegistrar.com. Oh, and the registrant is EvilRegistrar.com, creation date, 18 Feb 2008. Expiration date, 18 Feb 2009."

    No, I'm sure nothing bad is going on here. I mean, I can still get the domains if I just pony up to EvilRegistrar.com who still allows me to register as long as it's through them. I'm sure it's a "service" where they are protecting their customer (wife) against interlopers (me), not trying to look people into reserving with them.

    Of course this isn't like offering the domain up for $2500, but still something seems amiss.

    12:29 am on Feb 19, 2008 (gmt 0)

    WebmasterWorld Administrator ergophobe is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



    My wife calls me 20 minutes ago. "I want domain1.com and domain2.com" but I don't have the passwords for our account at GoodRegistrar.com

    Okay, I log into GoodRegistrar.com. "Hmmm... those are taken. Where are you looking?"
    "I'm at EvilRegistrar.com."
    "Oh, never use EvilRegistrar.com. They are a major hassle, not to mention $$/domain name compared to less than $ at GoodRegistrar.com. Anyway, let's look at the Whois info."
    Tappety tap click tappety tap click tap click
    "Hmm... the registrar is EvilRegistrar.com. Oh, and the registrant is EvilRegistrar.com, creation date, 18 Feb 2008. Expiration date, 18 Feb 2009."

    No, I'm sure nothing bad is going on here. I mean, I can still get the domains if I just pony up to EvilRegistrar.com who still allows me to register as long as it's through them. I'm sure it's a "service" where they are protecting their customer (wife) against interlopers (me), not trying to lock people into reserving with them.

    Of course this isn't like offering the domain up for $2500, but still something seems amiss.

    3:34 pm on Feb 19, 2008 (gmt 0)

    5+ Year Member



    An Internet committee investigating suspicious domain name transactions has found no evidence that insider information is being used to snatch desired Internet addresses to make money off the individual or business that actually wants to register them.

    Err...isn't this exactly what Network Solutions is doing? I know this horse has been beaten to death but that sentence seems to perfectly describe their modus operandi here. You can't seriously tell me that ICANN buys the whole "We're doing it for your protection" claim?!

    "When Internet users are unable to distinguish among different market activities, they often appear to conclude that they have fallen victim to a domain name front runner," the committee said in a new report.

    In other words, we are all idiots so stop being paranoid, right ICANN? That has to be one of the most insulting things I've ever heard come from a company's mouth.

    This really compromises the integrity of that organization to me. I think basically they just had to come out and say "Hey we investigated it. Not really, but we're tired and going back to bed. Now get off my lawn!"

    many parties complained that the fee would penalize legitimate returns, such as ones to correct for typos

    If you have someone registering that many typos that they can't pay the 20 cents for each one, you've got a much more serious problem on your hand.