The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has begun an investigation (PDF) into accusations that some insiders may be using inside information to collect data and purchase unregistered domain names that get a lot of DNS lookup requests—nonexistent domains that surfers frequently try to access.
ICANN refers to the practice as "domain name front running," adding that it—along with several registrars and intellectual property attorneys—has received a number of complaints from registrants suggesting that such a thing has occurred. While the organization currently has no solid evidence on the matter as of yet, it feels that an investigation is warranted in order to nip in the bud any perceptions that the domain name industry is involved in unethical activity.
ICANN's Security and Stability Advisory Committee (SSAC) likens the practice to stock and commodity front running, which occurs when a broker makes a personal stock purchase based on inside information before fulfilling a client's order. An insider to one of the popular domain registrars can see which domain names are popular with visitors, even if they are not yet registered. That person can then register the domain, knowing how much traffic it could get before the general public does, with the intent to resell it at a profit later.
ICANN, Internet, Domain, DNS, DNR, Trading