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Tuesday, February 14, 2006


20,580,207 .com names deleted

Bruce Tonkin, chair of the ICANN GNSO Council, quoting from the latest VeriSign Monthly Report states:

"During October 2005, there was a total of 43,228,923 .com names under management (up from 42,541,300 in the previous month), however in that single month 20,580,207 .com names were deleted."

These deletions are part of a pattern emerging in the registrar-monetizer sector wherein certain registrars acting in conjunction with the domain name monetizing industry are measuring potential domain name traffic by testing out domain names (at no cost) during the registry's five-day add/grace period; if the prospective domains don't attract a sufficient amount of pay-per-click traffic they are then deleted before the registration becomes final.

What does this development mean for the rest of us that don't have the same wherewithall to game the system? For starters, it means that millions of domain names are unavailable for us to register while the registrars and monetizers engage in these shenanigans.

Beyond that, it is clear that because the monetizers are using semantic association software to generate a series of PPC links on parked pages, those websites that engage in typosquatting will return the highest traffic count -- for example, a domain name such as americanexpresso.com will be semantically analyzed and will return links for american express which, of course, generates a great deal of traffic. Trademark infringement is the resultant byproduct of this process.

This issue has been under discussion at ICANN for more than a year already (at Argentina and Luxembourg). What does it take to get ICANN to recognize that a problem exists and that solutions are required?

Karl Auerbach has proposed one solution -- the elimination of the add/grace period. Another solution might be found in assessing a per domain fee for all names dropped during the add/grace period.

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