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John Sewell, names123.com: Doctors and accountants should be registering their businesses
 real 28k

Monday, 6 December, 1999, 08:19 GMT
Betting on banks.com



UK internet entrepreneurs are hoping to make a fortune by auctioning off the internet address www.banks.com.

The domain name is up for grabs with a reserve price of 1m ($1.6m), but the owners of the web address clearly hope to make more. Last week, the name www.business.com was sold for a record $7.5m (4.68m).

A Californian company wants to use business.com to create a net portal for business news.

Their approach is likely to be similar to C-Net's www.news.com, a web site specialising in technology and internet stories, but which is branching out to become a full web portal with a host of internet services.

Banks.com is now advertised to do the same for financial services.

However, banks.com may not be the best bet of them all. After all, www.bank.com - without the s - has already been registered.

Promising to launch in January 2000, bank.com wants to become a "co-operative resource" for community banking, while offering itself as a portal for large financial institutions at the same time.

The banks.com auction is being run by Names123.com, a UK company specialising in selling off generic internet addresses.

The auction will end on 1 March 2000, and the Names123.com's website proclaims that the bidding has reached 600,000.

Net name entrepreneurs

Originally, domain name 'killings' were made by cyber squatters, who registered well-known brand names and sold them on to the owners of those trade marks.

In recent years, though, courts have taken a dim view of cyber squatters, forcing them to release web addresses to the rightful brand owners.

Since then, the rush has been on to register generic domain names, which will be memorable enough or get 'direct hits' - when internet users try out an 'obvious' web address or URL.

Other internet entrepreneurs have registered countless family names, just in case a rich individual wants to have his or her very own URL and e-mail address that comes with it.

Another popular fad is to register permutations of well-known company names, not the official brand name, but close enough to attract hits from net surfers trying out a likely URL.

If they attract enough page views, the net entrepreneurs can approach the target company and try to sell the web address. Firms can then redirect the punters to their real home page.

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See also:
02 Dec 99 |  Business
The $7.5m net address
15 Nov 99 |  e-cyclopedia
Cybersquatting: Get off my URL
15 Nov 99 |  e-cyclopedia
Cybersquatting part 2: Giving it a good name

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