independent

Wednesday 16 April 2014

Sex.com, 'most expensive domain name in history', up for auction

Sex.com, the web domain touted as the most expensive in history, is up for auction, with bidding starting at $1m.

The website name was last bought in 2006 for a reported $14m backed by DOM Partners LLC, a lender from New Jersey.

But the lender is now foreclosing the Internet property after the owner Escom failed to pay its loan. Bidding, which is due to start on March 18, should start at $1m, or €736,000.

Auctions for simple domain names are usually seen as a good opportunity for internet entrepreneurs.

In the early days of the internet, shrewd investors bought up a numebr of them for basic prices only to sell them for large profits later.

In 2008 an auction for www.pizza.com saw bids of more than $2.5m, while another, Israel.com sold in the same year for $5.88m.

Sex.com however has had a varied history since its birth. It was originally purchased by Gary Kremen, the entrepreneur who founded dating website match.com, in 1994.

Two years later, through a scam, the ownership was transferred to Stephen Cohen, resulting in a five-year legal battle over ownership.

A Californian judge awarded $65m in damages to Mr Kremen and returned him the rights to sex.com. He eventually put the site on the market in 2006, and Escom reportedly paid $14m.

According to Charles Carreon, a lawyer who once wrote about the domain's legal troubles, the site generated $15,000 a day in revenue at one point.

Richard Maltz, an auctioneer at Maltz Auctions who is running the sale, said there was considerable interest in the domain name.

"We don't know who's serious and who's not, but prospective bidders need a $1m certified check," he said. "It should be interesting."

Telegraph.co.uk

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