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'Dot-Cc' Name Sells for $1 Million

By Michael White
The Associated Press

LOS ANGELES - A company paid $1 million for the Internet domain name Beauty.cc in a sale demonstrating that even in an age of investor doubt about new Web ventures, the right moniker still can fetch a hefty price. The sale on Monday also reflects the scarcity of prime names in the popular dot-com domain and could prove a windfall to the tiny Cocos Islands, population 636, which owns the dot-cc domain.

Until the Internet age made dot-cc a valued commodity, coconuts were the sole export of the islands, located in the Indian Ocean halfway between Austalia and India.

The amount paid for Beauty.cc is believed to be the most paid yet for an Internet domain name that doesn't end in dot-com, said Jeff Tinsley, chief executive officer of GreatDomains.com, which brokered the deal.

"It's cyber real estate and everyone is looking for a good address," said David Sams, whose David Sams Industries markets dot-cc names for the islands.

Sams sold the name to Universal Domains.cc, a publicly traded company that buys and sells domain names.

"Dot-com is nothing but a zip code," said Sams. "It's a suffix that gets you to your destination."

Universal President Alan Brown said the company planned to turn the address into a site that would sell products directly to consumers and also have a business-to-business component.

"The price tag for the domain is consistent with the value of the name," he said in a news release. "We are confident the public will be excited by the prospect of a refreshing new Internet marketplace."

The value of Internet companies has shrunken in recent months as investors have fled dot-com companies that have failed to turn profits, or at least demonstrate the likelihood of profitability. Even so, demand for prime names has remained high, Tinsley said.

"Although dot-com became the most powerful and is still the most valuable name, I'm not surprised at all that interest in other names is increasing," he said. "It was only a matter of time before this happened."

More than 9 million dot-com domain names have been registered so far, and about 16 million altogether. In the scramble for short, catchy names, companies have been turning to other suffixes. Last month Idealabs!, the Pasadena-based Internet incubator, made a deal with another Pacific Island nation, Tuvalu, to market the dot-tv domain. The deal guarantees Tuvalu, a nation of 10,000, a minimum of $4 million per year over 10 years.

The Cocos Islands is a dependency of the Australian government. Sams said confidentiality agreements prohibited him from saying how the money would be divided among his company, the Cocos islanders and eNic Corp., the Seattle-based company that manages the dot-cc database.

The record price for a domain name is $7.5 million paid for Business.com by eCompanies, the Santa Monica-based incubator of Internet companies. Earlier this month eCompanies launched its Business.com site, a search engine devoted exclusively to electronic commerce.

Copyright 2000 The Associated Press

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