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Old 15th August 2006, 10:23 PM
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Post Domain growth leads to 'Mortgages,'

Staking domain names has become the electronic equivalent of a more mature real estate market.

People buy and sell them, companies operate to broker such deals -- and mortgages are even available to finance them.

In June, for example, Cambridge-based broker Sedo (an acronym for Search Engine for Domain Offers) teamed up with New Jersey-based Domain Capital to offer domain investors financing for domain deals of $10,000 or more. Through the first five months of the year, Sedo brokered 211 such transactions.

Yet, increasingly, for those businesses that don't want to make moving onto the web a capital expense, alternatives to the standard dot-com domain are becoming increasingly attractive.

Still, "dot-com" is the waterfront property of domain names, and prices are rising as advertisers shift spending away from traditional media to the web, said Ron Jackson, editor and publisher of DN Journal, an online newsletter covering the domain name industry.

"Domain owners are sitting on a sweet spot with a tidal wave of money coming toward them," he said. "It's pretty phenomenal."

Last year, the number of domain names sold increased 75 percent, from 9,000 to more than 16,000, according to Sedo.

Domain Capital said it's the only financial services company to offer domain name financing. Not all businesses want to take on debt just to establish an Internet presence, however.

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