VeriSign plans to offer a service that would allow domain names to be registered for as short a period as a month, possibly creating a system of legitimised domain tasting.
The company has asked ICANN (pdf) if it can launch a Domain Name Exchange service, whereby registrars could cash in unused names, transferring the remaining time on the registration to a new domain.
The service, according to VeriSign’s filing, is designed for registrars that offer domain registration as part of bundled hosting packages paid for on a monthly subscription basis.
Currently, those registrars have to register the domain for a full year with VeriSign, even if the customer stops paying for it after a month or two, the company said.
Under Domain Name Exchange, registrars would be able to cancel the unwanted domain, receiving credit for the remaining time that could then be applied to a different domain.
The original domain would be entered as pending delete and the new domain would inherit all the previous characteristics, such as creation and expiry dates, of the original.
VeriSign suggests a 30-day minimum between the initial registration and an “exchange”. There would also be a mandatory 30-day period between exchanges under the same registration.
Essentially, the service would allow registrars to offer 30-day registrations.
While hosting companies may indeed be asking for such services, there’s clearly plenty of potential here for the practice of domain tasting to become formalised.
There does not appear to be any prohibition against an individual tasting 12 domains for the price of one annual registration.
VeriSign would, however, charge an additional registry fee that one would expect would be passed on to registrants.
The company is playing softly-softly, only asking for ICANN to approve the service in the less-desirable .net TLD at first.