In case you haven’t heard, Go Daddy chief Bob Parsons has a bee in his bonnet. And he’s decided to call it domain kiting.
He doesn’t like RFC 3915: Domain Registry Grace Period Mapping for the Extensible Provisioning Protocol. As we told you before, Parsons says RFC 3915 allows registrars to collude with domain name buyers to buy blocks of names, then pimp them up with pay-per-click terms, pick up a few advertising bucks, and shut ‘em down.
All within ICANN’s five day, 100% money-back grace period.
The registrar benefits by holding the buyer’s cash between the purchase and return. By continually recycling the arrangement, participating registrars enjoy a nice books-sweetening float.
Problem is, ICANN is cut out of its income, and millions of legitimate domain name users (who can’t buy desirable domain names) are left holding the bag.
How bad is it? Parsons claims that, in April 2006, over 93% of the 35 million domain names registered were abused this way.
And he charges that registrars are hyperactive participants:
After names are cancelled or dropped, the domain kiting registrar goes out and immediately registers the same names again. The domain kiting registrar will then put the same simple Web site back up for each domain name, wait another five days and then cancel all the names again — just in time to get a full refund. And for most names caught up in the domain kiting scheme, this process will repeat itself over and over and over.
Parsons directly fingers DirectNIC, Verisign and ICANN as either perps or enablers.
If you think DirectNIC spins names, you haven’t seen DomainDoorman. It’s the most active registrar tracked by RegistrarSTATS, followed by DirectNIC and Dotster.
A slightly more reputable variation on the ICANN Refund game is known as domain snapping. Domain snappers buy blocks of domain names, watch them during the ICANN grace period, and return low traffic domain names for a refund before the time’s up.
According to IPWalk, at least one domain snapper, DomainCar is growing faster than Go Daddy.
All of this kiting and snapping reduces the chances that legitimate websites can register memorable names.
Parsons believes the easy way to stop domain name abuse is by simply dropping ICANN’s grace period. When kiters and snappers are forced to actually risk money, their business plans aren’t as appealing… just like email spammers.
Email Battles Backgrounder:
- Registrar wolf packs keep you from buying a decent domain name; Newsbytes; Email Battles; 24 April 2006.
- Now Go Daddy’s Accused of Astroturfing; Email Battles; 24 January 2006.
- How Go Daddy Lost A Longtime Customer To A Phisher; Email Battles; 18 January 2006.
- RFC 3915: Domain Registry Grace Period Mapping for the Extensible Provisioning Protocol; Scott Hollenbeck; Network Working Group; The Internet Society; September 2004.