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Sex.com is Going Down 124

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the pass-the-hat dept.
nathanielinbrazil writes "A motion to dismiss the involuntary bankruptcy of Sex.com has been filed in a California court. Operational turmoil has put its owner in the doghouse with its creditors, who want to take over. 'It's the best domain in the world by far,' said Mike Mann, who has tried to keep the creditors at bay. Sex.com is estimated to be worth $100m. Let the games begin!"
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Sex.com is Going Down

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  • Um (Score:5, Funny)

    by jav1231 (539129) on Wednesday March 31, 2010 @08:54AM (#31686182)
    I always thought going down had been a big part of their strategy? :p
    • Re:Um (Score:5, Funny)

      by h00manist (800926) on Wednesday March 31, 2010 @09:02AM (#31686266) Journal
      Is sex still profitable on the net? How did these guys manage to mess up? It doesn't seem to take a genius to sell sex online.
      • by Aeros (668253)
        I just love how he thinks this is worth $100 million!
        • by iamhassi (659463)
          "I just love how he thinks this is worth $100 million!"

          I think he thinks if he says it enough times it will come true.

          Ok Mike Mann, tap your heels together three times and say "Sex.com is worth $100 million... Sex.com is worth $100 million... Sex.com is worth $100 million..."
          • "I just love how he thinks this is worth $100 million!"

            I think he thinks if he says it enough times it will come true.

            Like SCO/Darl McBride?

          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            by linhares (1241614)

            "I just love how he thinks this is worth $100 million!" I think he thinks if he says it enough times it will come true. Ok Mike Mann, tap your heels together three times and say "Sex.com is worth $100 million... Sex.com is worth $100 million... Sex.com is worth $100 million..."

            I'm sure that if he wasn't so anal about the price the growth prospects would be better.

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by Mike Buddha (10734)

          Yeah, this whole fetish about the value of "sex.com" fairly reeks of web 1.0. It's so dot-com. It's a proven fact that guys will type in sexy-mona-doing-it-with-her-lesbian-friend-with-a-strap-on.com if Mona's got the goods, even though they don't have to thanks to Google.

      • Re:Um (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Shakrai (717556) on Wednesday March 31, 2010 @09:28AM (#31686550) Journal

        How did these guys manage to mess up? It doesn't seem to take a genius to sell sex online.

        You mean people actually pay for porn on the internet? C'mon, it's been available for free for as long as the internet has been around.

        • by n30na (1525807)
          They'll pay for sex toys, though.
          • by xtracto (837672)

            And they'll also pay for "escorts" services and the like.

            In fact, a GOOD escort services web page (say, for New York City or another big city) can improve the business quite a lot.

        • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward

          With the rise of Youtube-style content theft sites, the general inadequacy of the DMCA for small to medium business in the face of the volume of stolen content, and the global economic downturn showing us that Adult was not recession proof as was always assumed, the number of people paying has plummeted.

          3 years ago it was a multibillion $$ industry. These days there are 4 or 5 major players actually selling content on credit-card members only sites, and all the 'free porn' sites [pornhub, redtube, tube8 etc

          • by Jenming (37265)

            When the porn industry starts making movies like "The opening of misty beethoven" again i will start buying new porn.

          • Then you have also witnessed the sheer amount of amateur porn being produced and distributed by such websites as well, the professional industry may be suffering but the "fun" amateurs are rising due to easy distribution. Whilst most is probably free, I've seen some sites where amateurs are paid for their content they produce.

            With access to decent cameras, easy distribution, even unpaid the porn industry is becoming far more user-created, why would anyone want to buy porn? People are giving it away for free

            • by Jedi Alec (258881)

              With access to decent cameras, easy distribution, even unpaid the porn industry is becoming far more user-created, why would anyone want to buy porn? People are giving it away for free and loving it.

              And, weird as this may sound, some of us find porn where all the participants are visibly enjoying themselves instead of just pretending and staring into the camera longingly more fun to watch.

          • by robot256 (1635039)

            Seriously, how much porn do we really need? Ever? If it has little or no artistic value, then one gang bang video is as good as the next, the pirated video market will reach saturation and and paying customers will demand less and less production. Only better/more interesting product will drive fresh consumption. Nothing else is worth paying for.

            Oh, and this applies to Hollywood too. As long as you produce true art and not crap that isn't even worth watching Hulu ads for, you will survive as an indust

      • Re:Um (Score:5, Funny)

        by PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) on Wednesday March 31, 2010 @09:32AM (#31686592)

        What sex? A name like "sex.com" just isn't specific enough anymore. It's just like a department store trying to compete with small, specialty stores.

        Would a serious skater buy a board at Wal-Mart?

        If you want to sell sex on the Internet, target a specific market segment, with a domain like:

        TeenLesbiansWithTripleHeadedDildoes.com, or

        GranniesScatRompWithLordOfTheRingCharacters.com, or

        CatholicSchoolTeachersAbusingSchoolKids.com . . .

        . . . although, for the last one, you can get the real thing for free by attending church . . .

      • by sjwest (948274)

        Title holders or category names in tld's are bad - accountant.com and consultant got used by email spammers and other crooks in my experience as a spammer hunter.

        Never been to 'sex' either primarily because of the strange history of who 'owns' it, and that there are better sex sites out there.

        business.com was another one - isnt that the one once owned by football team owner who now hates the internet ?

      • This is how:

        We're hard at work on our website. We've got some great stuff in store for Sex.com for 2010, including:

        -dating: get matched with sexy singles (and couples)
        -classifieds: buy and sell merchandise, find work.

        Sound like a $100million website to anyone?
      • by rgviza (1303161)

        He's probably picked up some bad habits...

    • I always thought going down had been a big part of their strategy? :p

      *whoosh*

      That's the sound of the joke going over your head.

      *thump*

      That's the sound of the joke hitting me in the lower abdomen

  • $100,000,000 ? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by vikingpower (768921)
    Hmmm, well - to my N-th generation offspring ( N > 3 ), "terraformation.com" is going to be worth a lot more than that...
  • Let the games begin!

    Let the jokes begin - starting with the article's double entendre headline! This should be more fun than the naming of Nintendo's Weewee!

  • by thsoundman (1778564) on Wednesday March 31, 2010 @08:58AM (#31686222) Homepage
    If the domain is "so valuble" then why can't he sell it? Who the hell values these things? Granted it's a much clamored for domain but seriously... somthing is only worth as much as someone is willing to pay for it. If no one is willing to pay for the domain it's not worth 100 million.
    • by courteaudotbiz (1191083) on Wednesday March 31, 2010 @09:06AM (#31686312) Homepage
      I totally agree. And even if someone is crazy enough to pay that much for sex.com, he's gonna have to know how to make money out of it. With all [persiankitty.com] this [redtube.com] free [youporn.com] porn [bulldoglist.com] available on the net, anyone trying to make money out of porn will have more and more difficulties, except with VERY HARDCORE users who will always be willing to pay for higher quality videos, false interactions (sex chat) and all that stuff...
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by thsoundman (1778564)
        Not to mention you can get full length videos on the net for free now. Porn isn't going to be etting any more popular. Granted it still makes a gargantun amount of money but I can't see much more growth potential. Until they can develop somthing like a holodeck they have already done everything... seriously... everything. Personally I can't see how anyone would pay that kind of money for a Non-Physical piece of property but then hey someone spent 250k on a virtual space station so what do I know :P
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by alexhs (877055)

          I can't see much more growth potential.

          Check your e-mail, I'm sure you haven't tried all pills yet.

        • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Wednesday March 31, 2010 @10:12AM (#31687124) Journal
          Beyond the growth of free stuff, and good old fashioned piracy, the value of generalist site names, even in classy TLDs, seems to have been basically destroyed by the rise of search engines that don't suck.

          Back in the bad old days, when searching was seriously limited and not very good, having a URL (or AOL keyword, god help us all) that would be immediately obvious to a desperate n00b might well have had real value.

          These days, though, you either know exactly where you are going, or you use your browser's search box as a kind of sloppy-natural-language-command-line thing and enter your hopes and wishes and questions with varying degrees of vagueness. Then, typically, the search engine does a pretty good job of figuring out what you want, and gives you some plausible options, no matter what their URLs are.

          If anything, the truly "obvious" URLs are probably worth less than some of the weird ones, now. Upholding a trademark(without having to constantly append your .TLD in advertisements) is almost certainly easier if your company name/URL is some catchy nonsense word than if it is something that would have helped a n00b 10 or 15 years ago.
          • by Dr. Spork (142693)
            I think you're exactly right. Painfully obvious domain names just don't have much value anymore. I mean, someone who has been in a coma for the last 15 years really might type "sex.com" into the URL bar when they're looking for sex, and "search.com" when they're looking for a search engine, and "books.com" when they're looking for books. But it's crazy to think that a website will become a big player in a well-established field just because they have the most banal and obvious domain name. Google and Amazon
      • by Shakrai (717556)

        With all [persiankitty.com] this [redtube.com] free [youporn.com] porn [bulldoglist.com] available on the net

        You left out alt.binaries ;)

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by vikingpower (768921)
        You forgot slutload.com ....
      • by Archon-X (264195) on Wednesday March 31, 2010 @11:46AM (#31688620)

        I'm sorry, but like most people that don't work in the industry, you don't have a clue how it operates, the margins it runs, the advertising structures, etc etc.

        The largest tube sites are either owned by the latest porn sites (brazzers, etc) - or make huge amounts from selling ad spots (Redtube: minimum 150k for a well placed 30 day spot). Guess what - they're 'making money out of porn' - just not in the older constructs of a paysite.

        I personally dropped $125,000 on highly-niched domain a few months back, and we're already at 85% ROI. Interesting factoid: Both youporn and persiankitty, and hundreds more 'free porn sites' promote it, and make quite nice sums off it too.

        In brief: Your understanding of how the market works even on a fundamental level is completely flawed.

        • I understand how advertising works just fine sir... but for the end user it doesn't cost a dime. Thats what I was getting at. Why would the average person pay for it if they can get it for free. I know very well how the industry works because i have associates who work within it.
          • by Jedi Alec (258881)

            Who cares what it costs the end user? The porn industry has figured out what the market is demanding and has switched supply to match that, making profit in the progress. More money is coming in than is going out, where it's coming from doesn't matter.

            Oh, the irony of the porn industry being the only part of the moviemaking establishment that happily embraces the new tech. MPAA guys, are you paying attention? Piling on even more DRM and legislation won't solve your problems because we'll just watch more por

          • YOU JUST DON'T GET IT MAN.
    • by Nesman64 (1093657)

      Nothing seems to be worth its value anymore.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by tverbeek (457094)

      I'd think you could make very good money by just selling advertising space on sex.com. Or running just about any kind of business whose target market has a smutty sense of humor. For example, start selling discounted college textbooks from a site called sex.com, throw in some gender-selectable eye candy, and students across North America will beat (off) a path to your door.

      • Then why don't you buy it? You seem to have a great business plan! But maybe the banks will tell you that they can "only" lend you 75% of the amount... Do you have 25,000,000$ at hand?
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      The problem with sex.com: About 10 years ago, the domain name got transfered owner under "suspicious circumstances", which resulted in a lawsuit, which resulted in an injunction from the name from being used. The legal battle has raged on since (which is why if you go to sex.com you see it pretty much parked).

      It's not that the name is worthless - it's that there's pretty much no content at the site, the legal battle is not over, and the owner has run out of money, which is why creditors want to take it over

      • by v1 (525388)

        last I heard on this, the domain owner had written signed request on file at his registrar to not transfer the domain unless he was there in person with valid IDs because so many people had tried to fraud the domain from him.

        Then some yutz at the registrar let someone fax in a request for a transfer, and he had quite a fight to get it back, but got it back in surprisingly short order.

        From there I didn't hear any further on it. You'd think that if that many people were that desperate to get their hands on i

    • I understand that the only way a bankruptcy court would be involved is because another court had entered the fray. I suspect that another court had granted one of the lenders the right to auction off the SITE, including the domain name. It was scheduled and DOM files the Motion to Dismiss claiming he had both domestic and international bidders on a date certain. Whether or not the price makes sense, he will be compelled to demonstrate to the court that he indeed did have those potential buyers.
    • by Lando (9348)

      Website outlook gives a value of around 62k USD http://www.websiteoutlook.com/www.sex.com [websiteoutlook.com]

  • by Virtucon (127420) on Wednesday March 31, 2010 @09:02AM (#31686268)

    What about google.com? microsoft.com?

    I'd point out that those sites have made substantially more money for their owners than sex.com. Just reading the stories about this domain, the theft, the international intrigue it makes me think it's the most nefarious domain on the network, but hardly the best one. It reminds me of the story of "the monkey's paw" and unfortunately that was fiction, this is reality.

    • by neoform (551705)

      google.com and microsoft.com are valuable only because of the businesses behind them. Sex.com by itself has far more intrinsic value. The only domain I'd value more than sex.com would be business.com.

      • by Virtucon (127420) on Wednesday March 31, 2010 @09:16AM (#31686404)

        If you read the filing, the whole bankruptcy is around money invested for "building a website." If there is intrinsic value then just having people coming to a pic of a naked chic should be a great business model. Wait, that won't work, as evidenced by the bankruptcy.

        Content is king, not the domain name.

        • by Locke2005 (849178)
          just having people coming to a pic of a naked chic More double entendre?
        • by neoform (551705)

          Restaurants go bankrupt all the time, does that mean there's no money to be made from running a restaurant?

          Just because sex.com was poorly managed, does not mean the domain has any less value.

      • I'm not sure any domain of the form $someword.com is intrinsically valuable when you can just type $someword into your favorite search engine.

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward
        What would you do with business.com? Why would anyone go there? Hmm, I feel like doing some "business" today. I don't have any specific kind of business in mind, I bet business.com has some interesting business that I could do, I'll go check that out.
      • by dangitman (862676)

        The only domain I'd value more than sex.com would be business.com.

        Why? I don't think many people start their day by typing "business.com" into a browser. Maybe you could sell a few business socks [youtube.com] there, but not much more.

  • Oblig (Score:3, Funny)

    by AndGodSed (968378) on Wednesday March 31, 2010 @09:08AM (#31686334) Homepage Journal

    I guess they're screwed then.

  • The most interesting part of the article is where Mike Mann, the guy who runs sex.com, said that he wanted to give all the proceeds to charity!

    I know that there is a great joke there... but my brain is still in shock


    --------
    No one can do everything perfectly; mistakes happen. But we’re assassins: when we make mistakes, people live
    • by Sulphur (1548251)

      The most interesting part of the article is where Mike Mann, the guy who runs sex.com, said that he wanted to give all the proceeds to charity!

      That's Charity.

  • I thought worth should be measured in currency.
  • by Rogerborg (306625) on Wednesday March 31, 2010 @09:15AM (#31686396) Homepage

    But aren't domain names pretty irrelevant now in the Brave Google World?

    The subset of people naive, dumb or drunk enough to just type "sex" in the url bar probably doesn't intersect in any meaningful way with people who own a credit card and are capable of typing in the number.

    • You make the incorrect assumption that it takes brains to own and/or use a credit card. In fact, the vast majority of CC users lack basic math skills and get entangled in unredeemable debt forever.
      • Re: (Score:1, Offtopic)

        by bluefoxlucid (723572)

        That's my situation. I'm having trouble killing my credit card, but I've just paid my last $300+ college bill and my last $150+ maintenance bill on my apartment for a prior issue. I'm also switching off my evil car insurance company because everyone quotes me $1000-$1500 lower per 6 months, for the same coverage! Good hands... with sticky fingers.

        Mind you, I also have my 401(k) contributions set obscenely high, so I intentionally have a very harsh financial situation. My intent is to pay off my $180

    • by tverbeek (457094) on Wednesday March 31, 2010 @09:25AM (#31686514) Homepage

      The intersection of those two sets is huge. I staff a corporate help desk and I talk to dozens of people a week who don't know the difference between the URL field and the search field.

      • Not that this helps their confusion; but browsers are increasingly conflating the two as well, probably because they know that customer service(and low support costs) is easier to achieve through pandering than through education.

        In any fairly recent FF, for instance, if you just enter a single word or phrase, obviously not a URL, in the URL field, it interprets that as a search query, and dumps you to the page of whatever search engine is registered as default, with that query already run for you. I beli
        • by tverbeek (457094)

          Just FYI, I see or hear* the opposite far more often: people typing simple URLs into the search field, whether it's the one in the corner next to the URL field, or even the one found on their home page (Google, MSN, Yahoo). I don't have the data at hand, but a nontrivial amount of searches on those sites are for fully qualified domain names.

          *Typical example:
          Me on the phone: "Please type example dot com in the address field, hit Enter, and look for the ____ icon in the upper right corner."
          User: "I don't see

    • And even typing "sex" in the url bar won't bring you to sex.com. By default, IE will do a Bing search, Chrome will do a Google search, and Firefox will simply try to connect to the "sex" domain, which will fail (unless you have a web server named sex on your internal network).

  • by Bearhouse (1034238) on Wednesday March 31, 2010 @09:15AM (#31686398)

    Surely we've moved on from this?
    Is not getting a high ranking in search engine responses more important these days?
    For example, I just typed 'sex' into my browser address line, (Firefox and with Google default search), and it took me straight to 'pornhub.com' (NSFW!)

  • I don't go there (Score:3, Informative)

    by DNS-and-BIND (461968) on Wednesday March 31, 2010 @09:16AM (#31686402) Homepage
    Anyone out there who actually makes it a habit to go to sex.com? Frankly I've never heard of them since the big sale however many years ago that was. And who goes to business.com? Sure, they're generic keywords with .com behind them, but honestly where's the value in a name?
  • by DynaSoar (714234) on Wednesday March 31, 2010 @09:24AM (#31686496) Journal

    Since this appears to be real, it's a darn good thing the article was posted today. Had it come out 1 day later, nobody would believe the story was anything but an excuse for the headline.

    • by jonbryce (703250)

      It is April fools day in some parts of the world now.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by radtea (464814)

        It is April fools day in some parts of the world now.

        Fortunately it isn't in the US yet, and I'm on vacation tomorrow and so will get to miss the boring tired old /. April 1st dementia that wasn't very funny the first time and has become vastly less funny as it gets repeated without variation or originality year after year after year.

  • Best domain how? (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    If this is such a valuable domain, why is it that no one has been able to do anything profitable with it, other than trade it around? Even if he doesn't think he can get a fair price for it at auction right now, surely he could call someone up and say "For $X/month, we can point this domain at your site, and I can stay out of bankruptcy."
  • This domain has been bungled every single time someone has owned it.
    Either
    a) corporate types get hold of if, and having no clue about the adult industry, make it a banner farm, or
    b) Shady types get it and use it to suck Capital Investors dry.

    Meanwhile on the rest of the internet, the pornographers are making more money of standard domains than one could ever hope to off sex.com
    How do you make bank off 100M in a 5 year plan?

  • search.com > google.com
    video.com > hulu.com and youtube.com
    shopping.com > amazon.com

    Honestly, having a common dictionary word as your domain name was assumed to be the key to internet success in the mid 90's, but haven't we moved on since then?

  • Why is it important? First have a look at Coke... their brand is worth millions if not billions. Same thing goes with domains and sex.com is on of the highest searched keywords ever on the intertet. Average Monthly Searches: 513,360,000 Average Cost Per Click: $0.51 USD. I happen to have a few domains with type in traffic and it's usually 0.5-3% type in traffic of the average searches. So with sex.com you are looking at large monthly checks from just type in traffic. Not everyone uses search eng
  • Are they insane?

    Sex.com is worth billions A bid for $100 million would be sort of a joke, an insult.

    When you consider the number of visitors who will go there just due to the name, now, and the exponentially growing number of people who will visit the domain at times in the future (due to the increasing internet population)...

    Not to mention the branding opportunities.

    Although, I suppose at the end of the day, it can only be sold for as much as someone is actually willing to pay for it, regardless of

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by BitZtream (692029)

      No, people USED to go there just for the name. 10 years ago. Before everyone who went there found out that it wasn't what they wanted.

      There are lots of one word domain names that would have been awesome had they not been ruined, but now they have.

      Let me go over the short list on the top of my head of ruined names that no one gives a shit about anymore, including the owners of them:
      ask.com
      search.com
      news.com
      buy.com
      toys.com

      Most of those are still someone useable, but their actual value is trivial because the

  • Pics or it didn't happen.
  • And is there 3. $$$$ profit?

  • He wouldn't be having financial troubles.

    The day of overpriced domain names is over. The good names are known, the ones that could have been good but were fucked up by douchebags squatting on them are long gone as they've already been ruined, people know to go elsewhere.

    When you can go to Google, search for 'free porn' and get back www.pornhub.com as the first link, sex.com doesn't have a chance nor does it have any value, people looking for things it might have know its worthless to them and go elsewhere.

  • I can't believe it's so valuable and he rather just lose it and everything else he owns rather than sell it.

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