GoldNames launches name-trading service

Service wants to create secondary market around domain names, 'the perfect asset class'

An investment bank for cybersquatters? That might be one way of describing Jerusalem-based GoldNames, though the company itself prefers a more polished image.

The company, which is to unveil a new trading service for Internet domain names Wednesday, offers a variety of consulting services similar to those offered by other domain name registrars. But GoldNames has also bought up thousands of domain names itself, which it resells or leases to customers, and hopes to create a stock exchange-style secondary market for domain names.

"As an investor, you can invest in stocks, bonds, currencies, real estate, and many other asset classes," the site says. "Internet domain names are the perfect asset class."

Many legal battles have broken out over domains, with some entrepreneurs attempting to buy up the names of famous people or companies and sell them back to their owners. However, the UN's World Intellectual Property Organisation (Wipo) has recently begun a crackdown on illegal squatting.

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