News sold for $13m

A set of three documents filed in California Bankruptcy Court earlier this week reveal that the world's most valuable domain name - - has been sold for $13m, just one million dollars more than it was sold for back in January 2006.

Earlier this year the company that bought from Gary Kremen in 2006 (for $12m plus $2m in stock and other options), Escom LLC, declared bankruptcy. Escom has been unable to make sufficiently profitable and was overdue on interest and debt repayments.

This announcement was quickly followed by the news that would be put up for public auction - the time, date and location and the need to be holding a cheque for $1 million to even be allowed in the room, were published. But then, one of the owners of Escom, Michael Mann, broke cover (Escom has always been purposefully cloaked in corporate law cloth) in order to prevent the auction going ahead.

After some more fighting, it was agreed in July that the would be sold in a closed auction run by domain brokers Sedo.

That auction ended at the end of September but no news emerged, although Sedo did tell me that something had been agreed but they weren't in a position to discuss it. Finally, a set of three documents provided to the Central District Court of California on Monday and put into the record on Tuesday outline the sale of by Escom to another strange corporation, Clover Holdings Ltd, based in Caribbean offshore tax haven St Vincent and Grenadines.

You can view all three documents here: 115 (details of the sale); 116 (legal request to speed up sale); and 117 (setting the date for a hearing on 27 October). I think I'll attend the hearing.

Possibly the most interesting thing, apart from the peculiar behaviour of all parties yet again, is that the domain has gone up in price by only $1m in nearly five years.

  • Does this mean that Gary Kremen got a great price back in 2006?
  • Does it mean that the value of dot-coms, even, is stabilising?
  • Or does it mean that the buyers kept Escom down to the original price because they knew Escom had no real choice?

I'm not sure. I'll give it some thought. My feeling is a bit of all of them, but mainly the last one. is back up for auction a second time

On 18 March, was due to be auctioned off but that sale was delayed following a court order from its creditors. Now those creditors have agreed to put up for auction again some time this year.

The auction will be run by Sedo, and Sedo assures us they will keep us in the loop about when and how the auction will be run.

New website

7 June 2010

The website for the book has been revamped and posted to a new home -, instead of its original home at

The new design is much more up-to-date, as is the content. Full chapter excerpts have also been added to the site, and a whole new back-end content management system means that readers can now add their comments and suggestions, as well as discuss domain name issues, on the site itself. purchased

17 May 2010

The domain name has been bought in auction for $360 from from somebody in Korea. The website for the book will be gradually shifted over to this new domain, and to celebrate a complete overhaul of the website will be carried out.

Hollywood interest in

10 May 2010

Hollywood continues to show some interest in the book's film rights. With the Facebook movie The Social Network due for release in October 2010, the movie industry is gearing up for a slew of tales about the Internet's crazier aspects. The story, of course, tops them all.

Interview with NPR's On the Media

28 February 2010 author was on NPR this morning talking about the book and the planned auction of You can listen to the interview on the Press page.