John Levine reports that domain tasting is likely to come to an end, as ICANN plans to modify the domain registration process so that a $.20 fee paid by the registrar is non-refundable.
If you're not familiar with the practice, you can read how it works here. I am under the impression that there are a number of registrars exploiting this practice to let them dip their toes in the domain pool, see what's worth keeping, then dump the rest without paying anything. It seems to have opened the floodgates to domain speculation.
Domain tasting is a weird thing. I'm struggling to find what potential legitimate uses for this "feature" would be. John Levine's been schooling me on the topic since early 2006, and I have yet to hear of a good reason for it.
The only value I see in domain tasting is for questionable activities. For fast-flux spammers trying to hide long term evidence of their activities. (Send spam, then people trying to trace it more than five days later can't find any evidence of the domain. Rinse, lather, repeat, millions of times.) For strange things like grabbing up the domains you look up and trying to sell them back to you. For people putting up thousands of sites with nothing but pay-per-click ads on them. (Apparently Google doesn't like this practice, either.)
I'm hopeful that making the registrar fee non-refundable will effectively end this practice by making it cost-prohibitive.