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The Top 25 Most Expensive Domains Of All Times

Christopher Hofman Laursen

Almost 100 years after the Klondyke gold rush, we had the Internet gold rush. From 1992 a number of visionary people went on to register .com domain names at Network Solutions for the price of USD 100 for a 2 year registration. These domain names turned them into millionaires when they got resold later. We have compiled the list of the top 25 most expensive domains ever sold. (The list was updated in February 2015). There have been three new entries over the last months, and one of them is the most expensive domain name ever. Please notice that we have left out of the list domain names which were sold together with additional assets.

The Top 25 Most Expensive Domain Names background

25. Shopping.de, $2.8 Million

24. Candy.com $3 Million

Year: 2009 (G&J Holdings)

Rick Schwarz, the domaineer per excellence, sold candy.com to G&J in 2009, who wanted to create the go to candy shop on the web. Currently they are known for being deindexed by Google due to black hat SEO methods and having to lay off a large number of staff in the process, but what a great domain name to promote your business.

 

23. vodka.com $3 Million

Year: 2006 (Russian Standard Co.)

Vodka.com was purchased in 2006 by the largest vodka manufacturer in the world Russian Standard Co. Today they use the website to educate customers about the wonders of vodka.

 

22. Sex.xxx $3 Million

Year: 2014 (VirtualVineyard.com)

VirtualVineyard.com swapped in their - not so memorable - name for this generic keyword domain giant.

21. Whisky.com $3.1 Million

Year: 2014 ()

20. Mi.com $3.6 Million

Year: 2014 ()

19. YP.com $3.85 Million

Year: 2008 (AT&T)

Yellow Pages was the offline Google. During the revamp of the business in 2008 AT&T needed a new name to show that everything had changed - they bought the hip YP.com from Live Deal for the rebranding.

18. FreePorn.com, $4 Million

Year: 2008 (Owner unknown)

Freeporn.com is the first of the three adult domain names between the 20 most expensive domains ever sold, and one of the most popular search terms on the web. It offers - not surprisingly - free porn.

17. Icloud.com, $4.5 Million

Year: 2011 (Apple)

It's all about the cloud. Apple acquired icloud.com from Swedish based Xcerion in 2011. Xcerion provides their own cloud platform, but the offer was too good to resist. So many golddiggers are still waiting for Apple to buy their i-domains. Let's see who is next. They had earlier purchased iphone.com for a seven figure, but nowhere near our top list.

16. Ig.com, $4.7 Million

Year: 2013 ()

15. Clothes.com, $4.9 Million

Year: 2008 (Zappos)

Zappos is not only about shoes, shoes and shoes. When Amazon acquired Zappos.com in 2009 it was revealed that Zappos had bought clothes.com the year before for a staggering $4.9M. It redirects to their clothing line web shop.

14. Korea.com, $5 Million

Year: 2004 (Korea.com Communications)

Korea.com was first registered in 1995 and later resold in 2004. It is the most expensive country domain. England.com was sold for $2 Million.

13. Toys.com, $5.1 Million

Year: 2009 (ToysRUs)

There are some generic terms which define a business such as Vodka or SEO. Same with Toys.com which was acquired by American market leader ToysRUs for its three retail properties: ToysRUs, eToys.com, and FAO Schwarz.

12. Casino.com, $5.5 Million

Year: 2007 (Mansion Limited of GIbraltar)

Mansion Limited operates from Gibraltar and hosts several online games. Casino.com was that great domain name, which probably has paid back its investment many times over.

11. Slots.com, $5.5 Million

Year: 2010 (Bodog)

Registered in 1995 the domain was set for sale in 2010 at a Snapnames domain auction, however it did not reach the minimum bid requested. Moniker managed to sell it afterwards directly to the new owner Bodog, an online gaming site.

Calvin Ayre from Bodog excitedly claimed that "Even at $5.5m, I'm convinced the Slots.com price was a steal."

10. Z.com, $6.8 Million

Year: 2014 (GMO Internet)

9. Beer.com, $7 Million

Year: 1999 (Interbrew)

Interbrew acquired the domain beer.com from Andrew Miller and Michael "Zappy" Zapolin the year after they had acquired it for $80.000. Timing is everything. There are some conflicting reports saying that they got the $7 million in stock, which was later claimed to be only $2 million.

8. Diamond.com, $7.5 Million

Year: 2006 (Ice.com)

Domain names are man's best friend, especially if you are Odimo Inc., which sold their stock and inventory to Ice.com, the European jewelry retailer. The icing on the cake was their domain name Diamond.com which went for $7.5 Million.

7. FB.com, $8.5 Million

Year: 2010

Buyer : facebook

Facebook acquired the domain name from the American Farm Bureau Federation, which used fb.org as its primary domain. At its annual meeting in Atlanta, the non-profit revealed that it had earned a hefty $8.5 million on the sale of FB.com.

 

6. Porno.com, $8.88 Million

Year: 2015 (WGCZ s.r.o)
Bought in August 1997 by Rick Schwarz for USD 42.000 from a student that bought it the week before for USD 5.000. Sold in January 2015 to Czech Adult industry player WGCZ.

5. Porn.com, $9.5 Million

Year: 2007 (MXN Limited)

As in the case of slots.com porn.com did not make the minimum bid at an auction (T.r.a.f.f.i.c. West), but Moniker later managed to sell it to MXN Ltd. at $9.5 Million.

4. Fund.com, $9.99 Million

Year: 2011 (Eastern Services Group)

The website is currently under contruction. A controversial sale from the beginning when acquired by Nevada-based company Eastern Services Group which worked as a tax advisor to casinos and which then went public. Later it was revealed that they did business with a number of shady companies such as Westmore Capital which was closed down by the SEC for running a $53 million Ponzi scheme. At the end of 2011 Fund.com had lost 99% of its revenue.

3. Hotels.com, $11 Million

Year: 2001 (David Roche)

In a recent interview with BBC, David Roche the CEO of hotels.com Worldwide, revealed that they had originally acquired the domain hotels.com in 2001 for $ 11 Million. Selling the company years later for $1.1. Bn, this is the true evidence of how a domain can disrupt a traditional market and be worth the millions invested.

2. Sex.com, $13 Million

Year: 2010 (Clover Holdings)

The story of sex.com should have been adapted for the big screen. In 1994 Gary Kremen, the founder of Match.com, registered Sex.com. In 1995 Network Solutions, the registrar, got tricked by a man named Stephen M. Cohen, who managed to get ownership of the domain name by falsifying letters and faxes. Kremen took Cohen to court and only got back the domain name after five years legal battle getting on top of this a compensation of $40 Million for lost earnings.

Cohen had made an estimated $500.000 per month in traffic from the site during its heyday. He managed to flee the US and was later arrested in Tijuana, Mexico.

Kremen sold the domain to Escom in 2006 for $11.5 Million and it was later resold in 2010 for $13 Million to Clover Holdings.

1. 360.com, $17 Million

Year: 2015 (Qihoo 360)

Beijing Qihoo Technology Company Limited acquired 360.com from Vodafone in January 2015 for an estimated USD 17M (according to insiders from Qihoo - nothing official yet). The security software and mobile services company has used 360.cn until now, but the .com domain was needed to drive their global strategy.

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