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ICANN Investigating Domain Tasting

Michele Neylon

ICANN has announced that it is seeking input and feedback on the topic of domain tasting. (See their announcement for full details)

Interestingly enough Michael Gilmour published an article a couple of days ago covering the same topic - "Why domain tasting is great!", which will probably raise a few hackles!

One point that in particular caught my eye:

Domains that are picked up in tasting that have TradeMark problems are already covered by relevant "give me back my domains" processes, either in or out of court. It's the domain owners risk to keep TM domains.

While that may be fine for big corporates, it's hardly palatable for smaller businesses that cannot afford to pay UDRP / WIPO fees plus the legal teams needed to prepare their cases.

If the copyright lobby can't catch up to their TM domains shifting every few days then this process can be solved by the registry stepping in to "lock" domains at the registry rather than the registrar where most domain tasting is taking place.

Err what now?

Registries can't really do that, which is why they rely on WIPO / UDRP for most of the gtlds.

If everyone benefits who is screaming about domain tasting? The copyright/intellectual property lawyers are having real problems with domain tasting. By the time they manage to get their C&Ds and cases together the domain is no longer registered. It's a moving target and no one to sue!

That might be the case if the domains in question aren't getting any traffic, but if they are then they're not going to be deleted by the registrar…
Traffic = revenue, which is why the tasters do it, or did I miss something?

Don't get me wrong, he does raise some very valid points and he think he's trying to provoke a reaction and debate more than anything else.

Originally posted on Michele Neylon's weblog.

By Michele Neylon, MD of Blacknight Solutions. More blog posts from Michele Neylon can also be read here.

Related topics: Cybercrime, DNS, ICANN, Law, Top-Level Domains

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Comments

Re: ICANN Investigating Domain Tasting Fergie  –  Aug 11, 2007 2:04 PM PST

John Levine authored a very good post on Domain Tasting here on CircleID back in May 2006:

http://www.circleid.com/posts/domain_in_bad_taste/

Having said that, one can only hope that by "investigating" the issue, ICANN realizes that the business processes and policies that allow domain tasting to occur in the first place is hurting the Internet as a whole, allowing "bad actors" to game the system and turn the Internet into something that shouldn't have happened otherwise.

$.02,

- ferg

Re: ICANN Investigating Domain Tasting John Berryhill  –  Aug 12, 2007 1:20 AM PST

That might be the case if the domains in question aren’t getting any traffic, but if they are then they’re not going to be deleted by the registrar…
Traffic = revenue, which is why the tasters do it, or did I miss something?

No, you didn't miss anything.  The "crisis" of not being able to do anything about a domain name which lasted less than five days, and which nobody visited, is something of a zen koan…

...If a domain name lasted for five days and received no traffic, then did it violate a trademark?

Try this experiment at home.  Take out a marker and a white t-shirt.  Write"Calvin Klein" on the t-shirt. 

Now, put a price tag on the t-shirt that says, "Sale Price - $1.00"

Next, hang the t-shirt in the back of your closet for four days.

At the end of the four days, throw away the t-shirt.

When you are done, send a letter to Calvin Klein's attorneys telling them how you were "infringing" their trademark for four days by offering to sell a t-shirt that nobody saw.

See if they care.

Re: ICANN Investigating Domain Tasting Fergie  –  Aug 12, 2007 2:44 PM PST

Ironically, I ran across this tidbit today.

Jay Westerdal writes on The DomainTools Blog that:

"Today was the largest Domain Tasting day ever. We recorded over 8 Million Transactions today. This is a new high. We have never seen 8 Million transactions on one day before."

More here.

- ferg

Re: ICANN Investigating Domain Tasting Keynes  –  Aug 14, 2007 7:11 AM PST

John Berryhill said:

Try this experiment at home.  Take out a marker and a white t-shirt.  Write"Calvin Klein" on the t-shirt. 

Now, put a price tag on the t-shirt that says, "Sale Price - $1.00"

Next, hang the t-shirt in the back of your closet for four days.

At the end of the four days, throw away the t-shirt.

When you are done, send a letter to Calvin Klein's attorneys telling them how you were "infringing" their trademark for four days by offering to sell a t-shirt that nobody saw.

See if they care.

Classic!

If companies are serious about their IP, they should try and register a broad array of their own typos - and if they are tasted and dropped, this suggests two major points: 1) The domain was available to reg, and so the company could have done so 2) If the traffic/rev doesn't justify reg fee, it's probably not highly valuable in absolute terms. I can see a need for reform in this space, but I also feel there are simpler remedies than UDRP in many cases.

Re: ICANN Investigating Domain Tasting Michele Neylon  –  Aug 14, 2007 7:26 AM PST

Bradley

Part of the issue is the cost of taking a UDRP. It's prohibitive for smaller businesses compared to the costs of a DRS with Nominet, for example

Michele

Re: ICANN Investigating Domain Tasting John Berryhill  –  Aug 16, 2007 6:59 AM PST

I'm not sure the point was made clear.  What is the point of a UDRP, or anything else, relative to a domain name which existed for five days, received no traffic, and was de-registered.

If you want to talk about silly things that attorneys do, check out the recent rash of UDRP cases filed by Red Bull at WIPO in which they habitually request "cancellation" of the disputed domain name.  This UDRP option has the sole effect of placing the domain name onto the "deleting domains" lists, so that it is a virtually certainty the domain name will be re-registered by someone else.

The amount of dumbth in this field is staggering.

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