Selling domain names - that's the business to be in. It's a licence to print money. We're talking telephone numbers here; the domain name Business.com was sold for a staggering $8 million. That makes it the most expensive domain name in the world. Previous record holders include Compaq who paid nigh on $3.3 million for the Altavista.com name.
It's the .com addresses that are pulling in the big money. Out of the 32 million or so domain names registered worldwide over 22 million of them are .coms. The second most popular is .net, with a paltry 5 million domains registered. In a business world that no longer relies on flashy offices and smart suits to create the right image, a .com domain can say a lot about your business. Get the right domain name, spend a bit of money on producing a professional web site and visitors to the site will probably assume you're a large, established, international business. That's why .coms are so valuable.
But isn't it a bit late to grab those really great domain names and to turn yourself into an overnight millionaire by auctioning them off? Well yes, the truth is, all the good .com domains were gone long ago, snatched up by Internet pioneers who realized their potential value. In fact some 97 per cent of the words in Webster's dictionary have already been registered.
Don't give up hope though. Changes in the domain name industry have opened up a whole new world of potential. You can now register names containing anything up to 67 characters (the previous maximum was 26). San Diego lawyer Michael Eddy was quick to jump on this particular bandwagon and he successfully registered www.attorneyreferralservice.com and www.hotelreservationservice.com soon after the new ruling came into action.
And don't forget there are the 243 country suffixes to explore. Dot com might be the most desirable suffix but there are some quirky addresses elsewhere in the world that could come in useful. For example, the Italian government recently ruled that non-Italian organisations could now register an .it domain - anybody for buy.it, sell.it or want.it? Other popular countries are Turkmenistan with its .tm address, the Kingdom of Tonga's .to (fly.to, takeatrip.to etc), Austria with .at and American Samoa with the potentially useful .as.
If you're dead set on a .com you could always take a look at the domains that have been repossessed. Every year or couple of years people have to pay up to renew their domain name - inevitably some forget or simply can't afford it anymore. These domain names are repossessed and available for sale again at the usual price. We have done our research to offer you some of the best expired names available here. Good names available recently includes: shop-a-deal.com, buy-online.com, car-catalogue.com, travel-advise.com, baby-giftshop.com, and many others!
So how much are they worth?Business.com holds the record as the most valuable domain on the Net. It was bought for a whopping $8 million by the Californian business eCompanies. ECompanies specialises in launching Internet start-ups and they plan to turn Business.com into a business-to-business portal site. Jake Winebaum, co-founder of eCompanies, is excited about the purchase, "Business.com is the highest order business-to-business domain name and is a perfect match with the service we're planning… we plan to make Business.com the Internet's pre-eminent business brand." Marc Ostrofsky, a Houston based media entrepreneur, is the now very rich man who sold the Business.com address.
But Business.com could soon be toppled from its top place position. The owners of the domain Year2000.com got very excited when they received a $10 million bid for the name, which they were auctioning off through eBay. The bid seemed high for a URL that now seems past its sell-by date and surprise, surprise, the $10 million bid turned out to be a hoax. However, a bid of $2 million had been genuine, unfortunately for Year2000.com the $2 million bidder withdrew before the end of the auction. To prevent the same thing happening again, the domain were being auctioned off privately; estimates of a $1 million price tag look much more realistic.
Domain name speculators are also keeping an eye on Banks.com, being auctioned off by the UK company Names123.com. They expected a £1 million price tag for this little lovely. Bids were standing at around £100,000 and the auction closed on March 1st 2000. It's feared this name could be overpriced, after all the much better name Bank.com has already gone and that site is being developed as a community banking resource.
The Bestseller's listBusiness.com
The details: Bought by the Californian-based eCompanies. They plan to develop the site as a business-to-business service.
The details: Bought for an extortionate sum and now the place to buy all your As Seen On TV products.
The details: Bought by Compaq for its search engine Altavista. It means you no longer had to type in the cumbersome URL www.digital.com/altavista.
The details: Not only did VirtualVineyard.com acquire the domain name wine.com back in September 1999 but it also bought a live site. However it's the URL that VirtualVineyards really wanted, the VirtualVineyard's content was immediately swapped over to the Wine.com domain.
The details: The sale of this domain was conducted by Hit Domains. The URL was bought by CarsDirect.com, the number one car buying site on the web. Autos.com is now the front door for the company's various auto services.
The details: Now home to the online audio and video retailer DVD Express.
The details: This domain was sold in April 1999 by Ehud Gavron, who runs an ISP business in Arizona. Online casino Players Sportsbooks and Casino bought Wallstreet.com and they run a stockmarket gambling service on the site. Players Sportsbooks and Casino are based on a tiny island in Venezuela - presumably for tax reasons.
The details: Yes, you've guessed it, this site is now devoted to all matters rock music related.
The details: This desirable domain was auctioned off by Great Domains and now is home to Verio, a company that provides Internet and web hosting services to businesses.
The details: Drugs.com was bought from Eric MacIver in May 1999. MacIver had originally planned to set up a pharmaceutical distribution site at Drugs.com. Internet start-up incubator Venture Frogs bought the domain and is now running a drugs and pharmacy portal from there.