Web Domain Names: The 21st Century Land Grab

Domain sales are booming.  It has been estimated that up to 45,000 domain names are registered each day.  Domain name speculation is big business.  According to VeriSign, the operator of the Domain Name System servers that support dot-com and dot-net domains, there are currently over 150 million domain names in use. In the last decade, business.com was sold for $150,000. 

It was then sold for $7.5 million in 1999 and $345 million last July to R.H. Donnelley, a directory services firm.  $345 million for a domain name! While many sales remain private, domain auctions are taking place all over the country and we know of at least 33 domain sales for over a million dollars.  Some of the other top money-makers include:      sex.com – $12.5 million;     porn.com – $9.5 million;     diamond.com – $7.5 million;   casino.com – $5.5 million;     korea.com – $5 million;     vodka.com ? $3 million;   computer.com – $2.1 million.

The potential advertising dollars are an important driver of this domain name economy.  Banner ads are everywhere on the Internet.  Google, Microsoft and Yahoo have developed sophisticated ad networks through their search engines that place ads relevant to the domain name.  Popular websites with intuitive domain names are valuable. Like real estate, most of the prime spots have been claimed and will now cost you a pretty penny, but the market is definitely on the rise and there are millions more to be made buying and selling space on the Internet. 

Contributed by Bruce Moseley.

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