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Over the past 15 years, simple and easily remembered domain names have rightfully been considered highly liquid and extremely profitable virtual capital. When in 1997 one of the pioneers of the online business Marc Ostrofsky acquired the business.com domain for an incredible at the time US $150,000, many said he was insane
At the time, it did seem true because in the middle of the 1990s not many businessmen had an idea of how the Internet worked and how to make money from it. However, two years later business.com was resold for a record- high US $7.5 mn. The transaction was even included in the Guinness Book of World Records and Marc Ostrofsky then uttered his famous phrase “domain is the real estate of the Internet”. Since then, the domain market has drawn the close attention of owners of different businesses. To have a clear and understandable domain name is more than simply prestigious. Internet marketing specialists claim that such a name promotes itself and attracts potential buyers. In 2010, a new price record was set when the sex.com domain was purchased for US $13 mn. For comparison, in 2012 the most expensive domain was sold for only US $2.45 mn.
In some types of businesses the significance of the domain name is so great that the domain and the business behind it are sold as a whole package. For example, the insurance services portal insure.com was sold as a fully set-up profitable business for US $16 mn. The list below contains only “clean” sales of domain names without their links to operational activity of companies.
Due to high liquidity and the stable high price of domain names, Internet investors often purchase domain names “for future use”. This is particularly true when it comes to domain names consisting of two or three-letter combinations, since there is a high chance they will coincide with abbreviation or trademark promoted by a potential buyer. Sometimes such domain names are not even linked to a corresponding website and they stay “idle” expecting a buyer just like undeveloped areas of virtual real estate.Printable version