No taste for spam?

Posted by   Virus Bulletin on   Jan 1, 2008

ICANN takes steps to combat domain tasting.

The practice of domain tasting, often used by spammers and other shady types to register tens of thousands of Internet domain names at no cost, looks set to end thanks to a new ICANN ruling.

ICANN charges a fee of 20 cents per domain name per year, but under its current rules a domain owner is able to 'return' the domain name within five days for a full refund (allowing legitimate registrants a grace period to rectify any mistakes that they may have made in their registration). This means that spammers and scammers have been able to register tens of thousands of domains for no cost - allowing spammers to hide their identity, and assisting search-engine spammers in their quest to hijack search engine rankings.

At the end of last month, however, the ICANN board voted to make the 20-cent fee non-refundable. While 20 cents may seem like small pennies, when multiplied by the tens of thousands of domains being registered by spammers on a regular basis it is likely to prove sufficiently costly to make the practice unprofitable.

Shortly before the ICANN ruling, Google also took a step towards curtailing the practice of domain tasting. The search engine and advertising giant announced that it would start looking out for domains that are repeatedly registered and dropped and exclude them from its AdSense program - thus preventing scammers from generating advertising revenue from them.

It is not clear when the change to the ICANN 20-cent fee will take effect, but industry watchers believe it could be within the next month.

Posted on 01 February 2008 by Virus Bulletin

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