ICANN (the internet domain name people) concluded their meeting in Paris today and decided to kill domain tasting and open up top-level domains.

Domain Tasting
Any time you’ve ended up at a domain name that just appeared to be a bunch of similar search terms and ads, chances are, it’s held by a squatter. Squatters are people who register thousands of domain names just to run those pages and make money on the ad revenue.

Unfortunately, ICANN has up until now allowed users to register a domain name and hold it for the five day grace period that exists on domain registrations. During this period, they can publish their ads and see if it generates any sort of traffic. If it’s viable, they register it. Otherwise, they drop it. They voted to squash the practice today and open up TLD registration. Check the jump for figures on tasting and more on the TLDs.

The numbers behind this are staggering. In February 2007, GoDaddy reported:

55.1 million domain names were registered. Of those, 51.5 million were canceled and refunded just before the 5 day grace period expired and only 3.6 million domain names were actually kept.

The end result of this practice is that viable, useful domain names go to squatters who just use them as ad havens, instead of to users with may grander plans for them.

ICANN’s voting to squash the tasting grace period.

.* TLDs
In their meeting, ICANN also voted to allow companies to register any TLD (the place where .com goes) that they choose. The process isn’t like a normal domain name. No, you have to pay between $100,000-$500,000 and prove your willingness/ability to maintain the TLD registry, since it’s an entire registry you’re managing. They claim it’s opening up entire swaths of internet real estate; I question if the TLD will ever matter that much given how reliant we’ve become on search engines and bookmarks to navigate the web—who’s going to remember .net much less .synapse?

ICANN Votes To Squash Domain Tasting And Allow New Top Level Domains [Consumerist.com]

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