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New gTLD Based Scam Sends Twitter Stock Soaring

July 15, 2015

The release of so many new domain extensions appears to be providing scammers and fraudsters with additional opportunities.

An incident that occurred last night may have netted the perpetrator a tidy sum - or at the very least, it probably cost some folks a packet and it certainly created confusion.

Last night, Twitter shares jumped 8% on the back of news that the company was in discussions with a potential buyer. The trading activity immediately following saw the value of the company jump by an estimated AUD$1.3 billion.

However, it was soon revealed the report of a takeover was a hoax

It seems the report was spotted on a Bloomberg web site, but not *the* Bloomberg site. It was just the product of someone who had registered the <> domain name a few days before. The site, reportedly designed to look like the authentic Bloomberg, was hosted in the USA; but appears to be now disabled. 

Twitter shares quickly lost their gains once the hoax was revealed.

The .market domain is one of the new generic Top Level Domains (gTLDs) enabled last year. The culprit is yet to be identified as the registrant used a domain registration privacy service. 

The hoax will no doubt confirm the concerns some expressed in the lead up to new gTLDs being released - that they would cause headaches for companies in terms of brand integrity, intellectual property, reputation management and create more playgrounds for fraudsters, pranksters and the disgruntled.

The incident might also give ICANN more ammunition regarding a controversial proposal that if implemented would prevent domain registrants with business sites being able to use WHOIS protection services.

The situation isn't helpful for supporters of new gTLDs. New extensions launched as recently early this year have apparently already been quite popular with spammers

Regardless, they are here to stay - and it's incidents like these that may make trusted domains like .COM.AU even more so given the registration criteria and the inability to use private WHOIS services. 

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