Oct. 21, 2010 -- As if we needed a reminder that sex sells… The Internet domain sex.com is expected to change hands in a $13 million deal that would make it one of the most expensive domain names on the Internet.
According to the U.K.'s The Register, the site's current (bankrupt) owner Escom LLC has agreed to sell the URL to Clover Holdings Ltd., pending the approval of a bankruptcy court.
Citing documents filed this week with a California court, the news site said the mysterious new owner (which is reportedly based in the Caribbean) made the "highest and best offer" out of 12 bidders. The court is expected to rule on the decision on Oct. 27.
Assuming it closes, experts say the sex.com transaction could be a record-breaker.
"That would end up being the largest cash sale every reported for a domain name," said Ron Jackson, editor and publisher of the Domain Name Journal.
Although many expected the domain name to sell for a large sum, some in the online real estate industry were surprised it hit eight figures, he said.
Could Sex.com Go Mainstream?
Not only is the economy not in the strongest position, he said, but the online adult industry has been battered by the explosion of free porn on the Internet.
Also, despite its name, sex.com has had a rocky financial history.
"[It] has seen disaster almost every step of the way. Some people have been a little wary of it," Jackson said. Given the price tag, he said it will be interesting to see what the new owner does with the site.
Jackson speculated that instead of taking the adult content route, the new owner might try to capitalize on the booming sexual enhancement industry with a more mainstream approach.
Regardless, he said, the sex.com deal could be harbinger of good things to come for online real estate.
"It's a very encouraging sign for generic domain names in general to have one exceed expectations to that degree, particularly in a bankruptcy auction," he said.
Jackson's industry magazine has tracked domain name sales since 2003. Because transactions can take place privately and publicly, he said, it's difficult to record all sales. His magazine only records transactions that were pure cash sales.
Sex.com has not yet been added to his journal's records, but Jackson expects to add it once the deal officially closes.
For the full list of 10 most expensive domain names, click on the next page.
Top 10 Most Expensive Internet Domain Names
1. Fund.com, $9.99 million
2. Porn.com, $9.5 million
3. Diamond.com, $7.5 million
4. Slots.com, $5.5 million
5. Toys.com, $5.1 million
6. Clothes.com, $4.9 million
7. Vodka.com, $3 million
8. Candy.com, $3 million
9. Shopping.de, $2.86 million
10. CreditCards.com, $2.75 million