Insider Trading May Have Net Variant

Agency investigates claims of shady profits from domain names
By Jonas Oransky,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 24, 2007 1:39 PM CDT
People enter ICANN's public forum Thursday, March 29 2007, in Lisbon, Portugal. Attention at the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers meeting has been drawn to whether the implementation...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Someone call Michael Milken: Insider trading trailblazers may have found a new perch online. ICANN is investigating a poaching practice it's calling “front running,” in which buyers with inside information grab desirable domain names before others can register them. Speculation on the shadowy URL snatchers runs to viruses and other software that monitor interest in available domains, the AP reports.

But ICANN allowed it may just be coincidence that desirable names are being registered before more interested buyers have a shot—that is, maybe the online insider traders don’t exist at all. But if they are real, the supervisory agency says, they’re comparable to stock brokers that act in advance of clients’ trades—and they’re giving oversight a bad name.