According to a post on CircleID this afternoon, the ICANN Board of Directors held a vote to impose the non-refundable $.20 fee on ALL domain names registered from the moment of registration. The unanimous vote which took place on January 23 was noted in sections 5 and 6 of the ICANN meeting minutes, which were recently distributed. According to the notes,
“the Board resolves (2008.01.04) to encourage ICANN’s budgetary process to include fees for all domains added, including domains added during the AGP, and encourages community discussion involved in developing the ICANN budget, subject to both Board approval and registrar approval of this fee.” – Preliminary Report for the Special Meeting of the ICANN Board of Directors
By charging a fee on all registrations, people will be much less likely to buy large amounts of domain names with the intention of dropping the unprofitable names. This should close the loophole that was created to protect people who registered a domain name in error. In exploiting this loophole, some people were buying thousands of domain names (and more), keeping them for under the 5 day grace period to test the traffic, and dropping the names that didn’t receive traffic. This led some companies to register and monetize trademark domain names and quickly drop them to avoid being detected.
Dell recently filed a lawsuit against companies they believe engaged in this act, and the case is still pending.