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Multimillion-Dollar Domains

A look at some of the priciest names on the Internet.

A typical domain name might cost you around $12, but not if you're looking for one that captures a popular industry in cyberspace. From sex to money to shopping, the all-encompassing domain names that are most popular amongst web surfers often come with an astronomical price tag. Here's a run-down of some of the most pricey domain names by category.

Business
Many people have hedged their bets on domain names with a money theme. In 1999, Business.com sold for $7.5 million -- and just eight years later that domain and the business tied to it fetched an astronomical $350 million from RH Donnelley, which this year changed its name to Dex One Corp. In 2009, Insure.com -- now a website that provides quotes for life, car and health insurance -- sold for $16 million, according to Domain Name Journal. And a year prior, Fund.com sold for $10 million. Ka-ching.

Adult Industry
With the online porn industry raking in billions each year, it's no surprise that sex-related domains have million-dollar names, too. In 2007, multimedia and investment firm MXN Limited bought Porn.com for around $9.5 million. And most recently, in November 2010, Sex.com fetched an eye-popping $13 million in a deal between Escom LLC and Clover Holdings Ltd., the buyer. The domain name was originally registered back in 1994 by entrepreneur Gary Kremen, the founder of the popular dating site, Match.com.

Notable Names, Pricey Domains
Business.com
$350 million (2007)
Internet.com
$18 million (2009)
Sex.com
$13 million (2010)
Diamond.com
$7.5 million (2006)
Beer.com
$7 million (2004)
Clothes.com
$4.9 million (2008)
Vodka.com
$3 million (2006)
Source: Domain Name Journal

Alcohol
Liquor, wine and beer are obvious money-makers for restaurants and bars -- and when it comes to domain names, they're not doing too shabby, either. In 1999, VirtualVinyard.com bought wine.com for nearly $3 million. In 2004, Beer.com was purchased for $7 million, and two years later Vodka.com sold for $3 million. Now that's the spirit.

Information Technology
While it may be the most basic of domain names, Internet.com is also among the priciest of those focused on cyberspace. In 2009 the domain name was bought by QuinStreet, a direct marketing service firm for $18 million as part of a bundle of business assets. Other Internet-related domain names have high sticker prices, too. The name DataRecovery.com for example, sold for $1.66 million and Computers.com fetched a respectable $2.1 million. 

Shopping
The Internet is also an ever-increasing space for shopping, so profiteers are always looking to snag domain names that consumers might turn to first. In 2008 Clothes.com sold for $4.9 million and that same year, Shopping.de garnered a sizeable $2.8 million. Popular items for purchase also become top-dollar domain names, such as Camera.com with a $1.5 million price tag and Diamond.com, which sold for $7.5 million. 

Jane Porter is a freelance writer and editor based in Brooklyn, NY. You can find more of her work at Janeroseporter.com

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