Sex.com Sells: The Business of Purchasing URLs

The Big Business of Web Site Names


| May/June 1998



What's in a name? Well, if you're the lucky owner of "sex.com," or any other of the Net's most sought-after URLs, that domain name could represent a healthy retirement income or at least a hedge against inflation. It's also an indicator of what our society considers really valuable.

As Clive Thompson explains in In These Times (Dec. 28, 1997), URLs (a.k.a. uniform resource locators) are available on a first-come, first-served basis for $100 through the Internet name-licensing company Internic. However, some of them are so coveted that the Domain Name Stock Exchange was created to help bring buyers and sellers together. "Sex.com," owned by an offshore company in the British Virgin Islands, is said to be worth more than $1 million, Thompson notes, and "trekkie.com" is so valuable that the exchange doesn't even list a selling price.

The owner of "television.com" has turned down offers of up to $50,000, "astrologist.com" is available for $15,000, and you can own "CEO.com" for $25,000. On the other hand, "democracy.com" can be yours by simply contacting its owner—a Washington, D.C., firm called Intraactive—and asking for the name.

Oh, yeah. "Leftist.com" has never been claimed...