Domain Tasting Left a Bad Taste In My Mouth

domain name

Domain Tasting Left a Bad Taste In My Mouth

What is Domain Tasting?
There is a dirty little cybersquatting practice called Domain Tasting. “Domain Tasting” refers to a situation where an entity 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 profitable, it is kept. If not, the domain registration is canceled within the five-day period at no cost to the registrant. It was designed to allow a business an opportunity to cancel the domain name order. So what is so dirty or secret about that? Wait for a second, you will see.

Domain name front running is the practice whereby a domain name registrar uses insider information to register domains for the purpose of reselling them or earning revenue via ads placed on the domain’s landing page.

Domain Tasting and Domain name front running together allow a company that works closely with a domain name registrar to register all the domain names that are searched under Domain Tasting, they will often put ads on this domain (Domain front running). What this effectively does, is keep you from registering the domain name you want.

How Does It Work?
You go to a domain name registrar; we will use for this example and check to see if is available. Wow, it is actually available, but you do not register it, and you decide to talk with your business partner first. Under the guise of Domain Tasting, the domain name you wanted is registered along with all the other domain names that are similar to it. The company that just registered the domain, then put some ads on the new site homepage and also offer the domain name for some silly price (in hopes you want it bad enough to pay their hostage price).

The hope is that it will produce some traffic, by repeatedly going to it to see if it is available. They will keep non-revenue producing domains for the five-day period for free (under Domain Tasting). If the domain is generating revenue, it will play a game called Domain Kiting. Domain Kiting is where they will cancel the domain just before the end of the five-day grace period and then register it again for another five-day grace period. They have now effectively registered that domain name using domain kiting for free.

Is There Really Money In It?
Domain tasting is lucrative in a number of ways:

The registrant conducts a cost-benefit analysis on the viability of deriving income from potential advertising on the domain’s website. Domain names that are deemed potentially lucrative and retained in a registrant’s portfolio often represent domains that were previously used and have since expired misspellings of other popular sites or generic terms that may receive type-in traffic.

Domains are usually still active in search engines and other hyperlinks and therefore receive enough traffic such that advertising revenue exceeds the cost of the registration.

The registrant may also derive revenue from the eventual sale of the domain, at a premium, to a third party or the previous owner.

Tasted domains may sometimes be used for spamming and then discarded.

They will also taste a domain after it expires, in the hopes that the domain is still generating enough traffic to make some money from ad revenue.

How Do I Get Around All This?
There are ways around this. The first is to use a domain tool that does not subscribe to these practices. Go straight to the source, the official ICANN whois lookup website to check to see if the domain you want is available. When you are ready to purchase it, you can use whatever registrar you prefer.

If you get caught up in a domain-tasting scam and the domain name you want is being tasted and front-running. Simply do not visit it. If it is not being visited, then it is not producing traffic and if there is no traffic, there is no money, and the people running the scam will let the domain name go. I recommend that you give it a few weeks and then register it.

NEVER  “search” for domain availability using Address Bar Guessing (the autocomplete/guess that tries to complete what you are typing in the address bar). There are ISPs (Internet Service Providers) who have been found to engage in the practice of selling Non-eXistent Domain (NXD) Data.


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