There has been quite a bit of fallout since it first came to light in December that Network Solutions had started the practice of front running domains under the pretenses that it was reserving the domain name you searched for in order to protect you from somebody else registering it.
That’s a lot of rubbish if you ask me. If I am going to register a domain name, I won’t be climbing to the summit of a mountain and screaming it out at the top of my lungs and letting everybody know what I was planning on doing. Chances are that if I do that, somebody may decide that they have a chance to make some quick cash by registering it themselves and selling it back to me. Network Solutions is arguing that they are protecting us from this type of behaviour by registering the domain on your behalf. That’s like telling me you’re saving my life by not throwing me off a cliff. Makes sense right?
If I want to register a domain, I’ll check to see if it’s available then register it on my own. Problem is, if I don’t know where to check availability of a domain, I’ll Google the term WHOIS. Try it, Network Solutions comes up as #3 on the list and if you don’t know any better, there’s a chance that you could use them to search for a domain only to find it’s been registered on your behalf instantly leaving you with the option of either registering it with them, or taking your chances that nobody else will snatch it up when it gets released.
Google is also considering blocking advertising (not paying cash for ad revenue) on domains that are less than five days old. What was happening was that millions of domains would be bought up, have AdSense placed on them, then they were allowed to lapse after the five day grace period. This was generating millions of dollars of revenue with little to no up front costs. With Google discontinuing this practice, there will be less incentive to front run domains. ICANN is also considering implementing a 0.25 fee for each domain registration to make the process of tasting unprofitable. The domain will end up costing more than the ad revenue it will bring in, and if that is the case, there will be no reason to register domains for revenue when it’s going to end up costing you money.
ICANN is opening up public comment for their plans to modify registry terms on .biz and .info domains with regards to the add grace period. Basically they want to change the way refunds are issued in order to combat the large number of domains that get registered then have refunds issued within the five day add grace period. What they are suggesting is to limit the number of full refunds that are issued to 50 a month or 10% of the registrar’s net monthly registrations. A registrar would be allowed to delete as many as they wanted during the month while getting credit for them, however at the end of the month their accounts would be debited for the full value of the registrations that exceeded thresholds.
Due to the massive amount of outrage that happened as a result of the exposure of the registration practices of Network Solutions, there is change in progress to protect people who do domain name searches in good faith. The people have spoken, and for once, ICANN seems to be listening.