In the Olympic marathon that is the world of online business, Investing.com wins the 2012 gold medal as the most expensive domain name sold this year -- and one of the most expensive website names sold in the history of the Internet.
The news hit the wires Tuesday. Financial news company Forexpros.com (referring to the trading of foreign currencies) has broadened its business model by shelling out $2.45 million to acquire the Investing.com domain name.
According to the company, the website's new owners intend to use Investing.com to offer "a complete and free resource for novice and semi-professional traders and investors." Investing.com will offer real-time quotes and charts of stocks, bond, futures, commodities and currencies, as well as financial aid tools, calendars, and technical analysis in one virtual box.
All that will be offered to us at no charge. But it cost Forexpros.com a pretty penny to wrap it all up neatly in that memorable URL.
Still, Investing.com's $2.45 million price tag may be this year's largest -- but it's by no means the largest ever. Which led us to wonder: Exactly what kinds of domain names do people value more than "investing"?
Vice Is Worth the Price
For the most part, it seems companies are paying top dollar for Internet access to vices. Riffling through the records at Internet domain names sales site Domaining.com, we find that if you go back to 1997 -- as far back as the records reach -- only 25 domain names have ever fetched a higher price than the one Investing.com just sold for.
Among these popular 25, it appears the order of preference goes something like this: People are willing to pay up for alcohol first, followed by sex, gambling, and finally money.
Three of the top 25 prices ever paid for Internet domain names are sex sites -- Sex.com has topped the list ever since selling for the ripe sum of $13 million in November 2010. Porn.com and Freeporn.com also paid their sellers well -- $9.5 million and $4 million respectively (if not respectably).
Gambling is also popular -- with Casino.com and Slots.com going for $5.5 million apiece (to different buyers).
But with four related sites making the list, the most popular domain name category of all is alcohol. So far, the hot 25 list includes sales of domain names Beer.com for $7 million, Wine.com for $3.3 million, Wines.com for $2.9 million, and Vodka.com for $3 million -- this last sum paid by popular distiller Russian Standard.
Doesn't Anyone Like Money Anymore?
As for investing sites like Investing.com itself, they tend to lag in popularity. Bank of America (BAC) shelled out $3 million to acquire Loans.com more than a dozen years ago, in January 2000. That move probably inspired rival Citigroup's (C) own purchase of Mortgage.com (No. 34 on the list) two months later. Someone going by the name "Philip Gentile" managed to snag Fund.com for one Ulysses S. Grant shy of a $10 million purchase price back in March 2008 -- $9,999,950.
Even so, money may be making a comeback in popularity. So if you've snagged yourself a good deal on a nice financial domain name from GoDaddy.com and are looking to parlay that $9.99 purchase into some real bucks, take heart: The top two selling prices for domain names in 2012 were both financial sites: PersonalLoans.com, for $1 million, and now Investing.com for more than twice that. Looks like the prices are finally going up.
Motley contributor Rich Smith regrets to say... he has no domains to sell today. Nor does he own shares of any company named above. The Motley Fool owns shares of Bank of America and Citigroup.