ICANN To Investigate Domain Claim Jumping

    October 25, 2007
    WebProNews Staff

Domain "claim jumping" has a better ring to it than domain name "front running," but the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) isn’t exactly known for its sexy monikers. Regardless, ICANN is investigating whether insiders are gaming the system for profit.

Domain name front running, as it is now coined, is similar to the practice of insider trading. Someone checks the availability of a domain name and before they can go back to purchase it, somebody else has registered the domain, presumably to flip it to the person who was looking for it first.

This requires special knowledge, either via real time data streams or registrar-provided search lists. ICANN’s Security and Stability Access Committee (SSAC) is investigating whether that is in fact what is happening or if complainants are merely victims of coincidence.
The alarm has been raised because of the volume of these so-called coincidences, a red flag that the system is being gamed.

It could also be a consequence of recently-defined "domain tasting," where large quantities of domains are purchased and their monetization potential is assessed within the five-day return period.