Google cracks down on "domain tasters"

AdSense policy change could liberate millions of URLs for legitimate users

Simon Aughton
28 Jan 2008

Google is planning changes to its AdSense programme to clamp down on the practice of "domain tasting".

Due to go into effect before the end of February, the new policy will mean that internet domains which are less than five days old will not be able to generate revenue through AdSense.

"We believe that this policy will have a positive impact for users and domain purchasers across the web," says Google spokesman Brandon McCormick.

The problem of domain tasting arises from the five day grace period allowed new registrations, which allows those registering the domain to trial the name before paying the registration fee. Domain tasters use this period to assess the ad-generating potential of thousands of domains, dropping the less lucrative ones.

This means that many web users can't register the domain names they want because they're already being used in these money making schemes.

Typically such sites often seek to benefit from mistyped URLs, a practice known as typosquatting, or from URLs that appear to relate to an established company or brand. Dell, for example, recently filed a lawsuit against more than a dozen companies it alleges have made millions of dollars from typosquatting internet domains.

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