Most Expensive Domain Names

Most Expensive Domain Names=

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Being that it’s 2010, it’s safe to say the most of us have heard the term “virtual real estate”. Typically though, this refers to virtual worlds, people blowing tens of thousands of dollars on virtual real estate in a game like “Second Life”. The real virtual real estate, though, is that of the internet itself, domain names. In the mid to late 90’s there was a land grab as numerous popular domains were snagged for $100 two year contracts (later dropped to $70) from Network Solutions. The dot-come bubble arrived and suddenly those same domains were being resold for millions. Surprisingly, the dotcom bubble never burst when it came to the internet’s real estate. Prices today are as high as ever. – $16 million. This is the one that blows people’s minds. Ask just about anyone to guess what the most expensive domain name in history is, and they’ll probably guess something related to the porn industry. But nope, not even close. QuinStreet is the company that bought in 2009. So who the heck is QuinStreet? They’re the eighth largest internet advertising firm in the world. itself is an insurance company and brokerage house that provides insurance information and advice on their well-named website. They bought the domain for $1.6 million in 2001 and were the ones who sold it to QuinStreet. – $14 million. is one of those domains where people say, “Gosh, if only I could go back in time and buy that before people knew what the internet was.” Trust us, you don’t want this domain. Mostly, because of a crook named Stephen M. Cohen. In 1994, Gary Kremen, founder of, purchased from Network Solutions. In 1995, Stephen M. Cohen, committed fraud, provided false papers, and convinced an employee at Network Solutions to transfer the domain over to his name. What followed is a legal battle that is still going on today. Kremen won back his domain in the year 2000 as well as tens of millions of dollars worth of damages, since Cohen had been using the site to create a fortune with click-through advertising. Cohen filed an appeal, provided more false information, illegally transferred his assets out of the country, and ultimately fled to Mexico. He was eventually apprehended again and thrown into prison. Today, he is out again, and supposedly again living in Mexico while representing himself in court. Kremen in turn went on to sell the domain for $14 million to Escom LLC. Worth? God only knows how many years the whole ordeal shaved off of Kremen’s life. Earlier this year, Escom proved to be unsuccessful as was put up on a foreclosure auction. This auction, however, has been postponed as Escom’s creditors cried foul since a foreclosure auction would likely greatly diminish the selling value of the domain. Opening bid was set for $1 million. – $9.99 million. This is one is fairly straight forward (and therefore, kind of boring). The domain was bought in 2008. As a company, is dedicated to, well, the investment fund business. They’re an information company, providing information to consumers through their website as well as through personalized research. Since most of you have probably already glanced down and noticed that the next entry is, I’ll just assume I’ve lost you and go ahead to the next entry, which I know you’re all dying to hear about. – $9.5 million. Boy, is MXN Limited happy. They found themselves a bargain. Face it, moral reservations aside, $9.5 million is a ridiculously low price for The name could have easily gone for twice that. MXN Limited is an internet media and investment firm. They purchased the domain with a cash transaction, which may make the most expensive website to ever be purchased that way. MNX Limited has openly said they plan to be as shrewd as possible with the domain. They know they have a jewel from the internet’s real estate crown and they plan to make the most of it. – $7.5 Million. This is another one that’s fairly straight forward, as well as a great example of yet another industry that makes enough money to throw astronomical amounts of cash toward acquiring a great brand. In 2006,, one of the internet’s foremost diamond sellers purchased Today, both sites are run as separate stores. The one clue we have that they’re related are their individual favicons that feature differentiating backgrounds. – $7.5 million. The name may sound mundane, but this domain actually has a bit of history to it. The site was purchased for $150,000 in 1997, which at the time made headlines. Only two years later, though, it would be sold again. This time for $7.5 million to Jake Winebaum, founder of Earthlink, Boingo Wireless, and Helio. The original intention for was for it to serve as a search engine for small business and corporate information. The company managed to limp through the burst of the dot-com bubble and survive. In 2003, the company returned to profitability having completely reinvented its business model. In 2007, a number of companies would vie to purchase the entire company, including its famous domain name. The winner would be RH Donnelly, publisher of the Yellow Pages. Two years later, RH Donnelly would file for bankruptcy, finally emerging from Chapter 11 earlier this year. Perhaps they paid too much.

In 1999, Network Solutions’ veritable monopoly on internet domain registration was shattered and the wholesale price of domains dropped from $70 for two years, down to $6 a year. Since then, countless domains have been purchased, leaving many new companies struggling to acquire a domain that isn’t inconvenient in length or simply a random collection of characters. Small wonder then why so many modern online companies bear strange names such as “” and “”.

image via flickr cc

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