The World's Most Expensive Domain Names

Earlier this week, the Register reported that, according to documents filed in California, Escom LLC had agreed to hand over the domain sex.com to Clover Holdings Ltd. for a cool $13 million. Sex.com has long been considered one of the most expensive domain names of all time: Back in 2006, when Escom purchased the domain from the previous owner, the price was reported to be somewhere between $12 million and $14 million.

Escom is currently bankrupt, so the final deal hinges on approval from a bankruptcy court, but Clover was selected from among a dozen bidders who all wanted the domain.

Sex.com was originally registered by Gary Kremen, founder of Match.com, in 1994, according to the Register. Soon after, it was stolen by convicted con Stephen Cohen and it took Kremen five years to recover it. Cohen, reportedly, was making almost $6 million a year on advertising sold on the site. When a court ruled against Cohen, he was slapped with a $65 million fine, but fled to Mexico.

Most big-name domains don't share similarly turbulent backstories, but their sale price does say something about Internet trends and the value of reaching a large audience on the web.

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Nicholas Jackson is a former associate editor at The Atlantic.

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