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Domain Tasting Initial Report

Open: 08 January 08
Closed: 28 January 08

Explanation:The body that represents individual Internet users within ICANN, the At Large Advisory Committee (ALAC), asked ICANN’s main policy body, the Generic Names Supporting Organisation (GNSO) to review the issue of “domain tasting” in spring 2007.

Domain tasting is where someone uses existing legitimate processes to register a domain name and then tests to see if the address has sufficient traffic to provide more income than the annual registration fee (usually through the addition of pay-per-click advertising). If the address is deemed sufficiently profitable, it is kept. If not, the current “add grace period” - where domains can be returned within five days without cost - is used to return the domain at no net cost to the registrant. This process has seen an enormous increase in the number of domains registered and returned and some feel represents a loophole that needs to be closed.

In response to the ALAC’s request in spring 2007, the GNSO Council requested that ICANN staff prepare an issues paper for review and discussion. That Issues Report [pdf] was produced and discussed at ICANN’s San Juan meeting in June 2007, during which the GNSO Council decided to set up a working group to gather more information. The working group came back with an Outcomes Report [pdf] in October 2007.

As a result of both reports, the GNSO Council decided at the end of October 2007 to launch a formal policy development process (PDP) into domain tasting, beginning with a request that other parties in the ICANN structure provide their input on the issue. As a result of all this, an Initial Report [pdf] has been produced outlining the process, possible actions to be taken, and the arguments put forward for and against such actions.

It is this Initial Report that has been put out for public comment. Feedback will be incorporated into a Final Report supplied to the GNSO Council for it to review and take action where necessary.

Staff member responsible: Olof Nordling

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."