The internet domain name "Israel.com" was sold over the weekend for $5.88 million. The buyer's identity has not been revealed.
At the beginning of May, the internet domain registrar Moniker announced that the domain name "Israel.com" will be auctioned at a starting price of $5.5 million. The auction began on May 23 and ended six days later.
Today, the domain holds a generic Website providing general and tourist information about Israel and its heritage. It is yet unclear what the new content will be following the sale of the domain.
Prior to the transaction, the owner of the domain was Joel Noel Friedman, a 46-year-old Jewish American. According to the auction Website www.auctioninfo.org, Friedman said that he didn't expect the domain name to be valued so high when he bought it in 1994.
Friedman explained that he originally registered the domain name under his name for fear it would be misused by someone else. He added that he put the domain up for auction as a tribute to Israel's 60th anniversary.
The sale of domain names, which can be likened to internet real estate, is a common phenomenon. In the past, companies have paid hundreds of thousands and even millions of dollars for domain names such as casino.com or sex.com, which were bought by private investors with the aim of selling for a profit.
In light of this phenomenon, large companies often buy all the domain names that resemble the company name in order to avoid extortion. The cost of new or regular domain names is about ten dollars per year, but the cost of attractive domain names is much higher.