for sale will go to the highest bidder

The most expensive domain name ever is back under the hammer., which reportedly cost $14 million (£9 million) in 2006, has been put up for sale as part of foreclosure proceedings, reports Its current owner Escom famously bought the domain for a world-record sum from internet entrepreneur Gary Kremen. Controversy has always followed including accusations of theft and a decade-long legal battle.

The next chapter will take place on March 18th 2010 when changes hands again at the law offices of Windels Marx Lane & Mittendorf in New York. As the internet's most sought after three-letter domain, the public auction is expected to be fiercely contested. bidding starts at $1 million

Richard Maltz, auctioneer of, said: "This is definitely a great opportunity for some of the big boys. In order to bid for the domain, potential buyers will have to show up and provide a $1 million certified cheque. There is an opportunity for someone to substantially change the website and make a great profit."

Adult domains have long been the subject of big-money acquisitions. In 2007, became the largest all-cash sale ever when it was purchased in a $9.5 million deal. Meanwhile, went for the rather more modest sum of $45,000 in the same year.

However, efforts to create a specialist top-level domain for the adult industry ultimately proved unsuccessful. The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, an independent organisation that oversees the Domain Name System, rejected ICM Registry's proposal to set up a .XXX extension in March 2007. It was reported that some adult companies actually opposed the bid, fearing .XXX would marginalise the industry online.