Chat in the office yesterday turned to the subject of how much domain names are worth. Bundle of laughs, us lot.

Anyway, a quick bit of work on Google revealed that the most anyone’s ever paid for a domain name is $12m. The domain? Sex.com. No, we weren’t that surprised either.

It is possible to make a bit of cash by speculatively investing in domain names, but that doesn’t mean it’s a good idea. If events turned against you, your fingers could get burnt. Imagine if you’d forked out for something like paris2012.eu just before London got the games.

And that’s before you run into the thorny issue of cybersquatting. Thinking of registering a celebrity’s name or a company trademark? You probably won’t get away with it, as a number of disputes over domain names have demonstrated. (No matter what you think of his music, would you want to take on Eminem?)

Still, with all the current speculation, I imagine some people are frantically buying up politically-related domains – just in case.

It’s difficult to track down a definitive list of the most expensive domains because lots of these sales happen privately and don’t get recorded anywhere. But I managed to find a rundown here. This is the top ten:

  1. sex.com – $12 million
  2. porn.com – $9.5 million
  3. business.com – $7.5 million
  4. diamond.com – $7.5 million
  5. beer.com – $7 million
  6. casino.com – $5.5 million
  7. asseenontv.com – $5.1 million
  8. korea.com – $5 million
  9. seo.com – $5 million
  10. shop.com – $3.5 million

Finally, unconfirmed rumours (that’s why I left it out of the list) suggest that poker.com changed hands for over $20m. That’s a gamble if ever I saw one.

Have you ever made money on a domain name? Leave us a comment – we’d love to hear how it happened.

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5 Responses

  • fordy

    How do these people get such offers for their domains? Is there a good auction place? I run http://www.domainnamesoup.com (a site to find available domain names) and would like to integrate with some auctions or even write my own service.

    January 14, 2008 at 10:19 pm
  • Matt

    For domain names with such popular keywords and potential traffic just on the basis of the name, they will be dealt with on an individual basis e.g. businesses will put forward bids or offers rather than an online auction.

    Sex.com is one of the most fought over domain names in the history of domain names, you can read about the story here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sex.com

    There are a lot of domain auction websites out there, and one of the biggest is sedo.com

    January 15, 2008 at 10:22 am
  • Web Agency Guy

    I thought I once had seo.me – thought it was my millionaire moment! However Godaddy sold it to about 100+ people when the .me extension went live ahh well…

    December 4, 2008 at 7:06 pm
  • Bob H

    I own orbit.me.uk which I always thought was quite cool, don’t think I would put it on the market though.

    Bob

    April 21, 2010 at 9:04 am