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ICANN looks into domain controversy

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers is investigating into allegations of insider information being used to collect desirable domain names before they are registered by an individual or business.

The Internet oversight agency says it will be looking into suspicions that someone with access to domain name search requests has been using the query information to gauge interest in those addresses and profit from it.

Purchasing searched-for domains differs from traditional domain speculation in that the individual or group of individuals are almost certain that potential interest exists when they try to sell their domains at a profit.

The suspicions of any sharp practice occurring have not yet been confirmed, but user experiences have led many to believe that there has been some wrongdoing. Many individuals who have checked on the availability of a domain have discovered that they have been bought by the time they return a short time later.

ICANN says the perception of sharp practice damages trust and damages the reputation of the domain name registration industry. The organization was launching an inquiry to stop this "perception from evolving to accepted wisdom", Reuters reports.

The committee is looking for evidence on whether or not domain fronting is happening. If the committee does find evidence of insider dealing, it says it will consider what policies and measures might be introduced to prevent this from happening again.

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