Quite a few years ago now, it was possible for the likes of you and me to Domain Taste. This is where you registered a domain name, looked at the revenue generation from holding pages filled with ads and tracking scripts, and if they created a greater return than the cost you kept it, if ROI was bad you just deleted the domain before the registry requested payment.
The governing bodies like Nominet in 2006 took the industry a step forward in my opinion by preventing domain tasting. Later in 2008 ICANN followed suit. There is one big issue to me, and although I never did domain tasting (but could if I wanted to), so I guess you want to know why?
Well I'm a Registrar and the rules don't apply to registrars, that's why you often see domains on GoDaddy full of ads. Well Nominet is again looking at Domain Tasting, there is a group setup that will debate whether Registrars will be allowed to make money off or analyse the traffic of sites that are defunct in the owners eyes. This is how domain renewals go currently…
The current Nominet policy on cancelling domain name registrations can be found on the Nominet website at: http://www.nominet.org.uk/registrars/fees/#cancel
One thing that Nominet could do is stop the DNS switch when the domain goes into the 30 day renewal required period. This would from an SEO’s Point of view at least stop Google from domain merger. I’m lucky enough to work with clients these days that renew their domains on time, but I’m sure there are cases every day where a site gets swapped out for ads because the owner has forgotten to renew and the longer they forget the more chance of Google resetting the SEO domain value. If the domain was just locked down so that email still worked and automated emails sent to the owner I’m sure most would hit the drop or renew button a lot quicker.