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Tuesday, 23 November, 1999, 13:29 GMT
'Mortgages' for domain names
A panel will be set up to judge the value of domain names

A South Korean bank is now offering "mortgages" on internet domain names, blurring the distinction between actual and virtual real estate.

The Industrial Bank of Korea has teamed up with the domain name registration service Internet Plaza City and will offer bank loans with net domains as collateral.

"It is the first time internet domains are being appraised for monetary value and is an expression of our faith in the commercial viability of e-commerce," Yoo Wan-sang, president of Internet Plaza City, told the Korea Herald.

Price panel

The value of a particular domain name will be judged by a team of eight set up by Internet Plaza City.

"The appraisal group is composed of businessmen, domain operators, certified public accountants, lawyers and professors," explained Mr Yoo.

Loans of up to 30% of the assessed value of the site will be available, up to a sum of 30 million won, about 16,000.

The scheme will initially be limited to businesses owning ".com" domain names but will be expanded to include ".net" and ".co.kr" domains by next July, said Mr Yoo.

Million dollar business

Domain names can be extremely valuable. It is rumoured that Compaq paid $3.3m for 'altavista.com'. Previously the address of its Altavista search engine had been the less simple altavista.digital.com.

In 1997 a Texas-based company paid $150,000 for the generic URL business.com.

Anyone can register a domain name, as long as it has not already been taken. The cost varies, but is generally no more than 100 plus an annual rental fee, irrespective of how attractive it is.

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See also:
15 Nov 99 |  e-cyclopedia
Cybersquatting: Get off my URL
 |  e-cyclopedia
Cybersquatting part 2: Giving it a good name
30 Jul 99 |  The Company File
EU Internet address inquiry
27 May 99 |  The Company File
Gaining a NetBenefit

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