Google Takes Action to Close Domain Kiting Loophole

Image: Google saves the dayEffective February 11th, Google will stop monetizing all domains if they are less than five days old.  This single move will force a dramatic reduction in the Internet scheme known as domain kiting. Industry experts attribute over 90% of all current domain registrations to kiting performed by a group of rogue registrants, so this is a big deal for advertisers, brand holders, publishers, and legitimate domain purchasers.

What’s domain kiting?
In this scheme, domain profiteers take advantage of a five-day grace period to register domains, place advertising on them, and then delete their registrations for refund, before immediately reregistering them. 

Whose problem is it? ICANN’s.
The Internet’s sedentary governance body, ICANN, has taken years to respond to this growing problem, which is caused by its own refund policy. ICANN’s latest report on kiting, issued this month, identifies this as a serious problem requiring further attention and study.

But rather than just studying the problem, Google has shown leadership in responding to kiting. Though the change will initially sacrifice some ad revenue to Google, the DomainTools blog notes that improved ad quality will both benefit legitimate sites and potentially increase bid prices. In the end, Google’s good act could substantially pay for itself. 

Will other search engines follow suit? Yep. 
Yahoo and Microsoft both want to be good Net-citizens as they prepare for regulatory review of their merger.’s Chairman and CEO Barry Diller isn’t looking to be online advertising’s new bad boy.  So unless GoDaddy’s Bob Parsons wants to horn in on advertising, there will be very little online ad inventory available to encourage this practice.

With a single decision, Google has started a movement to end domain kiting.  ICANN could have done this years ago, except that it couldn’t.

So, thanks Google.

Image: Google’s good

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