Domain Tasting has been going on for years however Ross Rader of Tucows recently raised the point that Domain Tasting may not even be allowed under section 3.74 of the Registrar Accreditation Agreement. ICANN has a poor history of enforcement on certain section and clauses. ICANN picks its battles careful, there are just too many provisions and rules to enforce. Mr. Rader has formally asked ICANN staff if they have ever enforced the provision that states, 3.7.4 Registrar shall not activate any Registered Name unless and until it is satisfied that it has received a reasonable assurance of payment of its registration fee. An answer by ICANN Staff is expected sometime this month and it could lead to enforcement of the clause.
Mr. Rader points out:
The issue is not whether someone theoretically can pay for the registrations they’ve tasted, but that they will if the registration is activated. The second a registration gets transmitted to and accepted by the registry as a valid transaction, a fee is payable to the registrar. The clause in question clearly states that the registrar must be satisfied that the Registered Name Holder will pay for the registration and that such payment is final and non-revocable. In other words, a registrar is not permitted to issue a refund to a registrant for cancellations made during the Add Grace Period according to the terms of this contract. Generally, this reads that ICANN is not concerned as much with whether the registrant *could* pay the bill, but whether they *will*. Under all tasting implementations imaginable, the answer is clearly no, they will not be paying that bill.
The simple act of enforcement of 3.7.4 of the RAA may shut Domain Tasting down. A lot of arguments can be made against this but clearly a habitual user that preforms domain tasting can be isolated and told they are violating section 3.7.4 and that it is not allowed or the registrar could be discredited by ICANN. The issue is not about random domain owners and registrations that happen and then get deleted it is habitual users that clearly violate section 3.7.4 repeatably.