I’m sure you’ve read the news that Sex.com is the subject of a foreclosure auction next month in New York City. Sex.com reportedly sold for $14 million back in 2006, but there was never any confirmation of the dollar amount for that sale and was only speculation. I am not privy to any information about Sex.com (or the sale other than what was posted), but I want to discuss some things about the domain name itself.
Without a doubt, Sex.com is one of the best pure domain names a company could own. Without it ever really being fully developed into a brand, Sex.com is one of those rare domain names that is already a brand known throughout the world. Based on the Compete score, it gets decent traffic, and it’s a name that has the WOW factor most others don’t have. This is the name many people would love to have the chance to own if they could choose just one domain name.
There are some downsides to the name though. How does a company monetize it enough to earn a good ROI? Parking the domain name hasn’t seemed to work. Maybe that’s because people who want sex or porn can find that in plenty of other places online. The small portal that is on the site now is presumably not earning enough of a return right now either.
It’s likely the people who are visiting Sex.com don’t really want to find sex per se, but they are looking for porn. Porn is still a taboo word for many, so Sex.com is more of a “comfortable” name to own for some than Porn.com, although Porn.com certainly gets much more traffic and would probably make much more money on PPC. It’s just like a home with a pool. Some people would love to have a pool, but there are many who wouldn’t even consider a home that has a pool. Sex.com is more of a benign name than Porn.com.
According to an anonymous investor that was quoted on TechCrunch, there may be some litigation that could hold up the auction. Additionally, the amount of the debt on the loan is also unknown, and if it’s too high, the reserve price or minimum opening bid may temper bidding or cause people to not bid at all. As the auctioneer commented to me via email, “opening bid will be determined sometime prior to the auction,” and I believe this detail is the most important.
If the auction goes forth as planned, and the reserve price/opening bid is *reasonable,* I believe we are going to see strong bidding from more than one party. If the auction has participants from some of the leading adult companies outside of the domain industry, we could see a record result. In the market today, as Mike pointed out, it might be tough for a company to justify a record setting price. A name like this doesn’t come up for sale often, and this is a great opportunity that more than one company is salivating over.