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Domains now equivalent to real estate

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Internet domains are now considered real estate properties by the Industrial Bank of Korea, which will offer loans with the site as collateral. An eight-person group will review the domain and the bank will guarantee loans of up to 30 per cent of its assessed value. Those with a .com address can apply for up to 30 million Won (£16,000). Small business are expected to be the main customers, although homepages will also be considered. The .net and .co.kr domains will be included from the middle of next year. "It is the first time Internet domains are being appraised for monetary value and is an expression of our faith in the commercial viability of ecommerce," said Yoo Wan-sang, president of Internet Plaza City, the bank's partner in the scheme. The idea looks like a good one. The bank decides the site's value and offers a small but essential boost for its owner. If the site does pick up, it will be looking at a healthy return. If it fails, presumably it will take control of the domain -- for a third of what it reckons it's worth. The only problem is that this is Korea -- not exactly everyone's first choice for stability. ®

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