MILLION-DOLLAR URLS: The most expensive domain names of all time

What’s in a web address?

Quite a lot of cash.

We scoured domain name resource DN Journal and put together a list of documented million-dollar, domain-only “.com” sales. Some have been squatted on for 20 years and have only recently traded hands.

Unsurprisingly, sex- and gambling-related domains are some of the biggest money makers.

NOTE: Web businesses have other assets and are not domain-only sales, so they were not eligible for this list. For example, was bought for $US16 million as a fully-operating, profitable company. DN Journal reports only the domain names sold after 2003 because prior sales are not verified by credible sources. -- $1,200,000

Date sold: July 2014 was sold for $US1.2 million through Sedo in July 2014. It was purchased by Hangzhou Duomai E-Commerce Co. Ltd, a company behind other domain names, and -- $1,261,000

Date: November 2014

Silicon Valley electronics supplier Power Integrations bought to replace their old, less simple domain, -- $1,350,000

Date sold: October 2013

A man named Rick Schwartz registered in 1996 for $US100. He held onto it for nearly 20 years -- making a juicy profit off of it when the domain company Network Solutions bought it for $US1.35 million.

Because Schwartz has made a number of high-profile sales (you'll run into another much later in this list), he's earned the nickname 'Domain King.'

'When do I sell? When the domain name is ripe,' he writes on his blog. 'When is it ripe? When the right buyer comes along.' -- $1,500,000

Year sold: 2006

Sig Solares (the CEO of 'wasted no time pony up the $US1,500,000' when he won in an auction in 2006, DN Journal reported at the time.

Solares estimated at the time that he could make up the $US1.5 million in 8 years, meaning if all went according to plan, he should have recouped his costs by now. -- $1,500,000

Year sold: 2009

Back in 2009, Paley Media, a consulting firm that owns a bunch of different country-specific domains, sold the URL to a 'mystery buyer.'
Today, the URL just redirects to -- $1,500,000

Year sold: 2007

'Tandberg Data, a leading global supplier and manufacturer of backup and archiving solutions, decided to take the cash offer for from Tandberg, a leading global provider of visual communication products and services with dual headquarters in New York and Norway,' The DN Journal wrote at the time of the sale.

The deal was actually completed in December 2006 but wasn't made public until early 2007. -- $1,525,000

Year sold: 2009

The domain site sold on behalf of another domain site, , for a hefty $US1.5 million. After the sale, the site redirected to, but now redirects to a Swedish reservation site. -- $1,659,000

Year sold: 2008

Minnesota's Associated Computers Inc. sold the domain to ESS Data Recovery on Feb. 1, 2008. ESS had been trying to buy the domain for a long time. -- $1,700,000

Year sold: 2009 was rumoured to be selling for even more money -- $US2.5 million. But it came in at $US1.7 million after being purchased by Real Estate Disposition Corp. -- $1,750,000

Year sold: 2010 was acquired at the DOMAINFest auction in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, in May 2012. The next-highest domain name to go at that auction was, for $US450,000. -- $1,760,000

Year sold: 2009

Travelzoo spent big bucks on in January 2009. The site now operates similarly to the flight-finding service Kayak. -- $1,800,000

Year sold: 2007

It was a big 2007 for a man named Page Howe. He sold two domains that year, each for seven figures. Besides ($US1.8 million), he sold for $US1 million. -- $1,960,800

Date sold: March 2014 was sold for $US1.9 million during a private sale in March. The domain was purchased by Chinese gamemaker 37Wan. -- $2,100,000

Year sold: 2007

In October 2007, cleaned up at the T.R.A.F.F.I.C. / Moniker domain name auction. was almost sold for $US3 million there, but it didn't 'meet the set reserve prices,' according to DomainRich.

Today, is a website for -- you guessed it -- buying computers. -- $2,100,000

Date sold: July 2013 was sold privately for $US2.1 million in mid-2013.

It was bought by a Chinese company because the number signifies 'information' and can be used to call in restaurant and hotel reservations, according to DN Journal (similar to 411 in the US). -- $2,430,000

Date sold: March 2014 (which means 'games' in Chinese), sold for $US2.4 million in a private sale in March 2014. It was purchased by Gamewave Group Limited. -- $2,450,000

Year sold: 2012 bought in late 2012 for $US2.45 million. It was the largest domain sale of the year.

The site is now chock-full of content about investing and the stock market. -- $2,600,000

Year Sold: July 2011

Moniker brokered a deal to sell for $US2.6 million in July 2011.

But don't expect any sort of fun chat site: Salesforce bought the URL and it now directs to one of the company's advertising pages. -- $2,750,000

Year sold: 2004

ClickSuccess L.P., a firm that sells financial tools and products online, purchased in 2004. It was the biggest domain-only sale in years. was part of a massive $US5.5 million deal in 2003, but its sale included a number of other assets. -- $3,000,000

Year sold: 2009

Rick Schwartz sold to G&J Holdings for a sweet $US3 million in 2009.

G&J Holdings is owned by Greg Balestrieri and Joe Melville, cousins who grew up working in their family-owned candy company. They wanted to create easy access to sugary sweets online, so they made a big bet on the simple domain. -- $3,000,000

Year sold: 2006

A billionaire in Russia who owns the country's largest vodka maker, Russian Standard Co., purchased for $US3 million in December 2006. -- $3,100,000

Date sold: March 2014 was sold by Castello Cities Internet Network in a domain-only sale. Michael Castello purchased the domain 19 years ago, in March 1995, when it cost nothing to obtain.

'I had the original registration in March of 1995, and I registered it for free,' Castello wrote in DN Journal. 'I always liked Scotch whisky, but the real reason I registered was because of the Whisky a Go Go night club in Hollywood. I always enjoyed 'The Whisky', with its musical heritage and scene where the likes of The Doors and Janis Joplin played. Years later, I even offered to the owner's son and he told me he didn't need it since they already registered That rejection would prove to be good for me.' -- $3,600,000

Date sold: April 2014

Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi purchased in the biggest domain sale of 2014 through a private sale. It's said to be the most expensive domain name purchased by a Chinese Internet company, and Xiaomi intends to use it to make its brand name easier to remember. -- $4,700,000

Date sold: September 2013

Igloo/NetNames helped sell for almost $US5 million in September 2013. It was purchased by London's IG Group; it was previously owned by Brazil search engine iG. -- $4.8 million

Date sold: May 2014 paid $US4.8 million for last spring.

It paid $US4.3 million in cash and $US300,000 in debt, according to Domain Name Sales Report. -- $4,900,000

Year sold: 2008

Shoe company Zappos coughed up almost $US5 million for the domain

Now both are owned by Amazon, but still redirects to Zappos's apparel selection, not Amazon's main site. -- $5,100,000

Year sold: 2009 was originally sold for $US1.25 million as part of a bankruptcy court proceeding.

Then, days later, it was put up for auction again and Toys R Us ended up shelling out just over $US5 million for the powerful domain name.

It's kind of surprising how basic the site still looks today. -- $5,500,000

Year sold: 2010

As TechCrunch pointed out at the time of the sale, that is more than $US1 million per character. -- $6,784,000

Date sold: November 2014

The Japanese internet service provider GMO Internet bought from Nissan Motors for 800 million yen, or about $US6,784,000. is one of only three single-character domain names currently existing in the .com space, GMO says. - $7,500,000

Year sold: 2006 handed over the domain to an online jewellery retailer,, in a private sale for one of the priciest domain name swaps of all time.

But guess what? It's back on the market.

GoDaddy, which is brokering the deal, says it's looking for jewellery buyers, or otherwise. 'It can also be used for credit card rewards or things of that nature,' a GoDaddy exec told The Domains. 'We want to make sure this gets the white glove treatment it deserves.' -- $8,888,888

Date sold: February 2015

Add an 'o', and the deal gets even better.

The story of how 'Domain King' Rick Schwartz flipped is pretty incredible.

He bought it from a college kid way back in 1997, paying $US42,000 even though the kid had snagged it for only $US5,000 the week before.

Schwartz told The Domains that, since then, the site earned 'well in excess of over $US10 million via parking and redirects without every providing actual adult content.' Meaning that he likely reeled in more than $US20 million total from the scandalous domain.

The buyer in February's massive, all-cash sale was reportedly a company in Prague that also owns and

Other expensive domain names not listed by DNJournal (either because they were sold prior to 2003 or other assets were sold with the domains):

Source: Domaining, Wikipedia

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