Go to contents

[Opinion] sex.co.kr

Posted November. 07, 2002 23:11,   


As the Internet becomes an integral part of business activities, some business-savvy people are looking for catchy Internet domains, or addresses, implying the names of well-known leading firms, aiming to later sell them to firms at hefty prices. They are called modern-day Bongi Kim Sun-dals named after the fictional character famous for selling waters of Daedong River, as they look set to make fortunes with little effort. In the U.S., they are called domain squatters. A squatter means a person who occupies a public place without permission of the authority. Then, they are viewed as settlers who build houses in the cyber space without permission of owners.

▷Internet domain registration began to boom in 1999 in this country although it first began in 1994. The number of domains registered, which was around 54,000 as of June 1999, soared to about 156,000 at the end of October this year. The surge is partly due to the booming Internet business, but the desire to make a fortune with ease also contributed to the rising number. In some cases, a single person registered tens or hundreds of domains in an apparent attempt to sell them back to businesses with big price tags. In an extreme case, a man, who borrowed money to buy as many as 2,500 domains, killed himself after he failed to sell them back. It is no exaggeration, then, to call them cyber real estate speculators.

▷Still, it might be unfair to treat all of them as modern-day Kim Sun-dals or speculators. Some of them, indeed, have insight to see the future ahead of others and use their talent to make money. One of the insightful men was Korean American Lee Hee-joon, who registered the domain name korea.com before any other did it. He spent $70 claiming the right to use the Internet address believing that it would one day be of great use in Korea. The domain was sold to Internet service provider Thrunet for $5 million, or 6.5 billion won, two year ago. The Internet brought a fortune to the man with a bright idea.

▷It was recently reported that a 29-year-old woman living in Busan became an owner of the new domain name, sex,co.kr. The eye-catching name was one of the new domains Web domain body Korea Internet Information Center decided to open to the public last month. Given Internet sites providing sex-related content at home and abroad are reaping considerable profits, the domain name has drawn keen attention from not only the industry but also Internet users. There were 23,801 applicants wishing to get the name. As the name is believed to have even a greater commercial potential than korea.com, the owner is expected to make tens of billions of won by putting it on sale. It gets us worry, however, when we think of what kind of content will provided at the www.sex.co.kr address.

Moon Myung-ho, Editorial Writer, munmh97@donga.com