Friday, October 12, 2007

Prices and Human Nature

When large numbers of people are free to spend their money on whatever they want, the resulting pattern of spending can reveal a great deal about human nature. Unrestrained commerce cuts through the thick ropes of legal and social restrictions, and it lets us see the kinds of things that people really think are worth paying for.

As I've noted before, the auction of Internet domain names is as close as we've come to a global consumer market. Each domain has the potential to reach every person on the planet. The value of a domain is therefore directly related to its likely appeal to six billion potential customers. It is hard to imagine a bigger or better commercial test.

With that in mind, consider this story from The Financial Times of London. Tomorrow, the auction of the domain "" is expected to fetch $10 million, which would make it the second most expensive domain ever sold. Obviously, the bidders will be counting on a strong human interest in money and markets to drive traffic to the site and justify that price.

What is the most expensive domain name ever sold? "" for $12.5 million.

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