Just four years ago Sex.com was the internet’s costliest domain address, fetching $14 million. But as Sex.com goes on sale today, many doubt whether it can generate any excitement. The ethereal commodity goes on sale at a Manhattan auction room this morning, and potential bidders won’t be allowed through the door unless they’ve got at least $1 million (the reserve price) in their pockets. But, The Independent’s Stephen Foley asks, is it really worth it? “Few are expecting it to regain its title as the internet’s most valuable site, or to come close to selling for the $14 million at which it changed hands – ill-advisedly, it turns out – just four years ago. Because in those four years, we have all learnt a lot about what web domains might and might not be worth. The land grab for the worldwide web’s best real estate has often been compared to the American Wild West, and there is no more colourful example of that than the history of sex.com itself, but it is not just the evolving laws against cyber-squatters and outright theft that have helped settle things down… And the first thing that has been learnt is that – as igoldrush, a website offering advice for potential buyers and sellers, puts it – 99 per cent of domain names are essentially worthless. ‘Cars.com may be worth enough to retire on. SportsCars.com may be worth enough to buy a second-hand car on. PerformanceSportsCars.com may be worth a few hundred dollars. ePerformanceSportsCars.com is worth nothing.’”
Who — or what — really controls your mind?