Jay Westerdal initiated the rumblings online with this post: Google to kill Domain Tasting
He speaks of an apparent policy change by Google which will end the opportunity to monetize parked domains. That ought to mean that Google will have to dismantle Adsense for Domains? I don’t think that’s the most important item on Google’s agenda right now… but it may very well mark a shift in attitude towards this one aspect of shadowy online practices. If, indeed, it marks a bit of a loss for Googs, I’m sure they have some expectations that not all their plants will flower eventually and some may die.
Shadowy? Jonathan Bailey says: “If the rumors linked above are true and Google is looking at the possibility of no longer allowing users to monetize domains within the free grace period, that would certainly be a huge step forward.
Users would have to actually pay for the domains they park with Google and that would prevent spammers from registering and parking thousands of domains at a time. Even with heavy discounts and automated tools, the process would be too expensive.”
emad, a commentor at Andy Beal’s blog, offers a different perspective saying: “Domain tasting is big business. Oversee.net is a growing company, for example, that just got a lot of money from investors after already acquiring Snap Names *and* Moniker (which also owns Traffic Club…a way to monetize your domains with PPC).
I don’t know if this will have as big an impact on domain tasters as people think.”
He’s correct, Oversee.net recently obtained $150 Million in investment money from Oak Hill Capital Partners.
Overriding that however, may be another point Jay spoke of – litigation. Ah – back to the reality of today’s world! Litigation! This may be a simple example of what Jay is referring to;
Where someone searched for a domain name, registered it with a business plan (of sorts?), then received a cease and desist because it was “confusingly similar” to someone else’s product and web site’s name.
What Jay actually mentioned was;
“This is a smart policy move on Google’s part to ward off impending litigation that might have hit them in the coming months. Trademark lawyers have been getting [craftier] at taking down Kiting by suing under other laws. The new weapon of choice is not using Trademark laws but Forgery laws. The penalty for forgery is much worse and [carries] a much higher fine per article that is forged. Dell, Yahoo, and BMW have all filed lawsuits in the last two months that ask for millions of dollars of damage from Google partners and I think Google sees the writing on the wall, they might be named next.”
Additionally, he offered “will Yahoo follow suit and block all advertising on domains less then 5 day old as well? I have a feeling Yahoo will because Yahoo was one of the groups that is suing Domain Tasters using the Forgery law tactic.”
[edited - Google has made it official and the Associated Press may have included information I was looking for: "In October, Yahoo sued several domain name registration companies over tasting, accusing them of targeting trademarks owned by Yahoo and other leading brands. The lawsuit is pending in U.S. District Court in Fort Lauderdale, Fla."]