Net’s .web domain sold for $135m

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Everything on the net needs an address to ensure data reaches the right destination

The auction for ownership of the .web domain has ended with one company paying $135m (£102m) for rights to use the suffix.

A company called Nu Dot Co won the auction and can now offer firms the chance to own a domain ending .web.

The figure is three times as much as was paid for the previous record holder, .shop, which went for $41.5m.

Losing bidders for the domain included Google and net registry firms Afilias, Radix and Donuts.

Raising cash

The process of selling the potentially lucrative suffix began in 2012 but has taken until now to resolve because many different companies applied to run it.

It was almost delayed again because earlier this month bidders Radix and Donuts alleged that they had found “discrepancies” in Nu Dot Co’s application to take part in the auction that, they said, should lead to the whole thing being postponed.

Icann, which oversees the net’s address system, dismissed the allegation saying it was satisfied with Nu Dot Co’s application and there was no need for the sale to be delayed.

Donuts, which owns the .business and .company domains, then launched legal action seeking a restraining order to delay the sale. The application for this order went before a judge in California earlier this week who denied it citing questions over whether Donuts had the right to apply for a delay.

Icann also filed an affidavit to the court saying the auction was being run in accordance with its terms and conditions.

It is not clear what Nu Dot Co intends to do with the .web domain and when it will be available for net firms to use.

Icann has now sold the rights to more than 16 top-level domains that can be used in the same way as the more familiar .com and .org suffixes. Other domain suffixes sold include .app and .hotel. Icann has raised about $230m from the sale of these domains.

Auctions are still pending for a further 16 domains that several companies are bidding to control.

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