There is a new thread on Namepros that may have taken the new gtld discussion to another level, a weird level. Although anything is possible it is the Internet.
How new TLDs could be used to launder drug trafficking proceeds
One-word and hyper short LL .Com domains are rare and already in the hands of well-established domainers or corporations. Such domains are expensive and their sale even if private is more likely to draw attention. However , the release of hundreds of new extensions has made the acquisition of premium keywords, short numeric, LL and Chinese premiums much easier – in some TLDs. Following is a potential scenario…
A drug dealer in the U.S. sells $1 million of illegal drugs. The proceeds are deposited in small transactions into a series of related bank accounts. They could be linked to separate PayPal accounts but that might not be necessary. An affiliated partner in a foreign country (source of drugs) registers 250 cheap new TLDs at $1 each. The U.S. based partner buys the 250 new TLD domains in separate transactions over a period of days for an average price of $4000 each but under limits which might attract the attention of authorities (suspicious activity reports have $5k to $10k triggers). The domains are transferred to the U.S. partner while a series of small transfers from numerous bank accounts and or PayPal accounts totaling about $1 million less transfer fees is laundered out of the country. Yes .Com domains could be used but it is much harder to find good combinations in .Com.
Theoretically these same domains could be sold back to the original seller for $1 each so that the process could be repeated with the same domains.
This same method could be used to launder human trafficking proceeds or to fund terrorist activities. Yes this is all hypothetical but we have already seen buyouts in certain domain categories and TLDs. The Chinese are huge players in the new TLD space. Why?
It’s not the first time I have heard money laundering and domain names in the same sentence. I remember one time someone emailed me about 5 years ago, he told me he had better names than what sold on Sedo every week so he figured anything not super premium was money laundering.
The popcorn is a popping as we speak.