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Gay.xxx sells for $500,000

Smut site address commands stiff price

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The internet address gay.xxx has been sold for $500,000, making it the most expensive domain name sold in an extension that is not yet publicly open for registration.

The deal was made as part of the Founders Program offered by .xxx operator ICM Registry. The buyer is Liberty Media Holdings, aka Corbin Fisher, a Las Vegas-based gay porn production house.

The site associated with the domain is not yet live. When it is, you can be very assured of its NSFWness.

ICM does not plan to sell .xxx addresses to regular punters until December. It is currently in the midst of a "sunrise" process that allows reluctant trademark owners to claim or block their brand names in exchange for a fee of about $200.

It has also blocked the names of about 4,300 famous people from the domain.

The Founders Program saw ICM sell or otherwise allocate about 1,500 .xxx names to 35 companies, raising over $4m. The first to go live, back in August, was casting.xxx.

According to ICM, nine of these domains sold for over $100,000 each.

The previous top price for an address in pre-launch extension is believed to be the $350,000 that Overstock.com paid the Colombian .co registry for o.co in June 2010. Overstock is in the process of making O.co its primary brand name.

Before that, flowers.mobi sold to a domain investor for $200,000 in 2006, a purchase widely considered to have been an enormous mistake.

Porn addresses selling for big money are not without precedent. The most expensive domain name sale of all time is widely believed to be sex.com, which sold for $13m last year.

According to the Corbin Fisher website, the company is a member of the Californian porn trade group the Free Speech Coalition, which has been ICM's most outspoken opponent.

The FSC lobbied against the approval by ICANN of .xxx for years until March this year, and has since called for a member boycott of the extension.

As well as being concerned about the high price of .xxx names (roughly $100 a year) the organisation continues to fear that having a dedicated porn-only domain is an invitation for censorious governments to mandate or block it.

ICM plans to auction more .xxx domains at domain investor conferences and other venues over the coming weeks. A "landrush" phase – which will enable anyone to take a shot at a "premium" address – will kick off in November. ®

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