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Domain Tasting

Open: 7 March 08
Closed: 28 March 08

Explanation: The GNSO Council is considering the issue of “domain tasting", a term used to describe the case when someone registers a domain name and then tests to see if the name has sufficient traffic to provide more income than the annual registration fee (usually through pay-per-click advertising). If the name is deemed sufficiently profitable, it is kept.

If not, the current “add grace period” (AGP) - where domains can be returned within five days without cost - is used to return the domain at no net cost to the registrant. Recently there has been a significant increase in the number of domains registered and returned within the AGP. ICANN staff prepared an Issues Report in June 2007 and subsequently a GNSO working group published an Outcomes Report in October 2007. The GNSO Council decided on 31 October 2007 to launch a policy development process (PDP) on domain tasting. An Initial Report was produced for public comment, outlining the policy development process, possible actions that might be taken, and the arguments put forward for and against such actions. Public comments were incorporated into a draft Final Report (posted 8 February) for GNSO Council review and action.

Members of the Council subsequently drafted this motion to curb domain tasting. It would prohibit any gTLD operator that has implemented an add grace period from offering a refund for any domain name deleted during the AGP that exceeds 10% of its net new registrations in that month, or fifty domain names, whichever is greater. An exemption may be sought for a particular month, upon the documented showing of extraordinary circumstances, as detailed in the motion.

The GNSO Council will consider public comments and constituency impact statements regarding the draft motion and incorporate them into a further draft for Council consideration at its scheduled 17 April meeting.

Staff member responsible: Liz Gasster

Announcement | Comments | Summary/analysis of comments

Domain Name System
Internationalized Domain Name ,IDN,"IDNs are domain names that include characters used in the local representation of languages that are not written with the twenty-six letters of the basic Latin alphabet ""a-z"". An IDN can contain Latin letters with diacritical marks, as required by many European languages, or may consist of characters from non-Latin scripts such as Arabic or Chinese. Many languages also use other types of digits than the European ""0-9"". The basic Latin alphabet together with the European-Arabic digits are, for the purpose of domain names, termed ""ASCII characters"" (ASCII = American Standard Code for Information Interchange). These are also included in the broader range of ""Unicode characters"" that provides the basis for IDNs. The ""hostname rule"" requires that all domain names of the type under consideration here are stored in the DNS using only the ASCII characters listed above, with the one further addition of the hyphen ""-"". The Unicode form of an IDN therefore requires special encoding before it is entered into the DNS. The following terminology is used when distinguishing between these forms: A domain name consists of a series of ""labels"" (separated by ""dots""). The ASCII form of an IDN label is termed an ""A-label"". All operations defined in the DNS protocol use A-labels exclusively. The Unicode form, which a user expects to be displayed, is termed a ""U-label"". The difference may be illustrated with the Hindi word for ""test"" — परीका — appearing here as a U-label would (in the Devanagari script). A special form of ""ASCII compatible encoding"" (abbreviated ACE) is applied to this to produce the corresponding A-label: xn--11b5bs1di. A domain name that only includes ASCII letters, digits, and hyphens is termed an ""LDH label"". Although the definitions of A-labels and LDH-labels overlap, a name consisting exclusively of LDH labels, such as""icann.org"" is not an IDN."