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Archive for the ‘sex.com’ Category

Sex + hot social site = major press

May 2, 2012Domaining, Domainnamewire, pinterest, sex.com, UncategorizedComments Off on Sex + hot social site = major press

Sex.com relaunches as a Pinterest clone for adult photos.

I’ve got to hand it to the company that bought Sex.com for $13 million: nice PR move.

The site was just relaunched in beta as a “Pinterest for Sex”. That’s a nice way to get buzz.

For news story research purposes I just checked out the site. I assure you it’s NSFW.

I’ve got to believe the site is going to run into all sorts of copyright issues with this new format.

The company put out a “press releasespotted by Kevin Murphy. Unfortunately, it doesn’t give any clues as to who owns the site:

Pinterest doesn’t allow adult photos, so we felt there was an opportunity in themarketplace for such a service, and with the large amount of adult-oriented traffic, weexpect to compete with sites like Tumblr and Pinterest over the next 12 months” says Fred of Sex.com.

Fred?


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Sex.com Officially in the Record Books at $13 Million

November 17, 2010Domain Sales, Domaining, Domainnamewire, escom, sedo, sex.comComments Off on Sex.com Officially in the Record Books at $13 Million

Sex.com officially becomes the largest all cash publicly announced domain sale of all time.

The check has cleared.

A few weeks after signing documents for a $13 million all cash deal, Escom LLC has officially sold Sex.com with the help of Sedo. Congratulations to Sedo broker Jeff Gabriel who handled the deal. Also congrats to Sedo for its persistence trying to get the name to broker. It filed an affidavit with the court arguing it should be allowed to broker the domain name and said it felt it could sell the domain name for in excess of $6 million.

In the end the company sold the domain name for much more than I thought it would sell for. It’s also about $1.5 million more than the cash component of the last deal for the name. This comes despite a drop in the online adult entertainment market over the past several years.

A couple million of the sales price is being held back by the court pending settlement of outstanding claims between some of the investors.


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Sex.com Will Be The Most Expensive Domain Name Ever Sold

October 21, 2010Domain Sales, Domaining, Domainnamewire, sex.comComments Off on Sex.com Will Be The Most Expensive Domain Name Ever Sold

In my book, $13 million is the top sale of all time.

When the Central California Bankruptcy Court approves the sale of Sex.com for $13 million cash later this month, it will be the most expensive all-cash domain name ever sold and publicly disclosed.

Some may debate this. Some may say Insure.com at $16 million was higher. Or Insurance.com at $35.6 million. But I disagree. These purchases had to do with the existing organic traffic and search rankings of the properties. Did the domains help make the search rankings possible? Sure. But the buyers put weight on the results, not the cause.

Sex.com is very different. It’s not solely a domain name, but it’s as close as we’re going to get. The web site at Sex.com will be completely scrapped and there’s nothing impressive about its search rankings. The buyers want the domain name and the rights to it (two trademarks). Pure and simple.

Sex.com will now top the previous most expensive sale — which happens to be the last time Sex.com sold for about $12 million in cash. There was an equity component, but that is probably worthless now.


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Want to Bid on Sex.com? Deposit $1 Million.

September 2, 2010Domain Sales, Domaining, Domainnamewire, sedo, sex.comComments Off on Want to Bid on Sex.com? Deposit $1 Million.

If an auction occurs, expect to put your money where your mouth is.

We might never see an auction for Sex.com. But if we do, expect to put up a significant deposit if you wish to bid.

Court documents show that the bankruptcy sales procedure for Sex.com will include three phases.

In the first phase domain broker Sedo will do a worldwide outreach and prequalification of interested parties. The second phase is a negotiation period with qualified parties. The third phase will include further negotiation and, if necessary, a private auction.

This “private sale period” is 90 days long. If it doesn’t result in a sale at a minimum specified price, Sedo will hold a public auction within 30 days of the end of the private sale period.

If a public auction is held, each bidder will need to meet a number of financial requirements and must make a $1 million deposit.

Sedo and the debtors aren’t disclosing what the minimum sales price must be for obvious reasons. That information, along with Sedo’s sales commission, is redacted from court documents.

If you’ve been sitting on the fence about buying the domain (and I know many of my readers have been looking for coins between the couch cushions to come up with some spare cash to buy the domain), you should probably get in touch with Sedo during the private sales period rather than waiting for a public auction.


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Court Greenlights Sex.com Order

June 9, 2010Domaining, Domainnamewire, escom, Policy & Law, sedo, sex.comComments Off on Court Greenlights Sex.com Order

Order paves way for sale of Sex.com.

The Central California Bankruptcy Court has issued an order approving a settlement between the managers of Sex.com owner Escom, LLC. This means that Escom can go forward with entering into an agreement with domain broker Sedo to sell the domain name.

There was a slight hitch in the process as investor Nothin’ But Net (run by Mike “Zappy” Zapolin), which had been quiet in the early stages of the case, filed an objection. After filing the objection Nothin’ But Net worked with creditors DOM Partners and Washington Technology Associates to resolve their differences.

Escom will now operate as a debtor in possession pursuant to sections 1107 and 1108 of the Bankruptcy Code. Assuming the deal with Sedo goes through, you can expect marketing of the domain to begin shortly.


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Breaking: Sedo to Sell Sex.com Domain Name

May 21, 2010Domaining, Domainnamewire, escom, Policy & Law, sedo, sex.comComments Off on Breaking: Sedo to Sell Sex.com Domain Name

Settlement paves way for Sex.com domain name sale.

The managers of Escom, LLC, which owns the Sex.com domain name, have agreed to enter into an agreement with Sedo to sell the domain name. Terms of the brokerage agreement are confidential.

The agreement to retain Sedo to sell the domain name comes after a settlement between a number of the creditors to Escom. Originally, creditor DOM Partners pushed the Sex.com domain name into foreclosure and scheduled an auction to sell the domain name. The day before the auction was to take place, three entities controlled by Mike Mann made an involuntary bankruptcy filing against Escom to halt the auction.

The parties battled back in forth in bankruptcy court, but have reached a settlement. As part of the settlement, the parties agreed that “a sale of the Debtor’s assets, including its Internet domain name www.Sex.com (the “Domain Name”), as expeditiously as possible…is in the best interests of the Debtor, the estate, and its creditors.”

DOM Partners had originally opposed retaining Sedo to sell the domain name because it felt that its fees were too high. Sedo had been in talks with some of Escom’s investors previously to sell the domain, and Sedo filed a statement in the case suggesting that it would be the better company to sell the domain name than DOM’s original auctioneer.

The parties have asked the court to approve its settlement agreement.


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New Developments in Sex.com Case

April 29, 2010Domaining, Domainnamewire, escom, Policy & Law, sex.comComments Off on New Developments in Sex.com Case

More fighting between Sex.com owners.

It’s a business relationship gone sour, and it doesn’t look to be getting any better. Here’s a recap in the case of Sex.com owner Escom, LLC, as well as the latest developments in this soap opera.

To recap:

-First, one of the company’s creditors, DOM Partners, pushed the company’s main asset, Sex.com, into a foreclosure auction.

-The day before the auction was to take place, three entities controlled by Mike Mann filed an involuntary bankruptcy petition against Escom, thereby halting the auction. One of the entities is also a creditor with a loan backed by the Sex.com domain name.

-DOM Partners then filed a motion to dismiss the bankruptcy case so that it could go ahead and auction off the domain name to recoup the debt.

-Mann’s entities objected to DOM Partners’ motion to dismiss.

-The bankruptcy judge decided against dismissing case, and suggested a trustee might be necessary to act on behalf of the creditors as a whole.

-DOM Partners agreed with the judge that a trustee would be necessary.

Here’s what’s new:

-Mann and Escom objected to the idea of appointing a trustee. They say the company should sell the domain name on its own terms.

-Mann invoked section 5.03 of the Escom, LLC Operating Agreement, which basically says any issues not able to be decided by the three Managers of Escom (DOM Partners, Washington Technology Associates, and Domain Name Acquisition Group) would go to the non-Managing members of Escom. All Managers would be required to submit a report to the non-managing members, who would then have authority to decide. The two non-managing members are Nothin’ But Net, run by Mike “Zappy” Zapolin, and I-95 Investment Group. The latter is a larger member, and submitted a letter saying that it supports Mann’s and Escom’s position on the matter. DOM Partners says section 5.03 of the agreement is not valid given the current status of this dispute.

-Disagreements between DOM Partners and Mann may put a recent settlement with Sovereign Bank over embezzlement in jeopardy.

-DOM continues to claim that Mike Mann effectively controls Escom, while Escom’s CEO and Mann have said this is not true.

-Escom’s CEO claims the company’s revenue increased 194% between September 2009 and March 2010 and that the company has about $200,000 in cash.

-Communications between the company’s owners suggest that it considered a way to get a more mainstream advertiser on the site — someone “like WebMD” — in an attempt to make the web site more attractive to mainstream acquirers.

-So far Andrew Miller and Mike “Zappy” Zapolin of Internet Real Estate Group, both part owners of Escom, LLC through various holding or investment companies, have remained quiet on the case. However, tweets by Mike Mann today suggest that Mann is not on good terms with Miller and Zapolin.


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When a Domain Partnership Goes Bad

April 26, 2010Domaining, Domainnamewire, escom llc, Policy & Law, sex.comComments Off on When a Domain Partnership Goes Bad

Sex.com disagreement isn’t sexy, but it is an important warning.

If you’ve ever formed a partnership or had a business partner in a venture, you know how contentious it can get. When you draft the legal documents, the lawyer wants a provision for every possible outcome under the sun. Everyone is on good terms at the time, so you don’t suspect there’s any reason for half of the provisions.

But when things do go wrong, it can really be a mess. In the case of Sex.com owner Escom LLC, it appears that one major roadblock is that all Managers of the company have to agree to sell the domain name. That provision was certainly inserted into the agreement to protect all parties, but it is now a roadblock.

The following two paragraphs from a DOM Partners submission urging the bankruptcy court to appoint a trustee are typical of the challenges companies face.

5. All parties recognize that ESCOM must sell the Domain Name to satisfy the secure claims against it. The Managers, DOM and WTA, however, disagree on the manner and method of selling the Domain Name. Upon information and belief, this disagreement stems from WTA’s refusal to value the Domain Name at or near its true market value, instead claiming unrealistically high amounts be set as a reserve price in a private sale in an attempt either to protect the claim by iEntertainment, an entity that is controlled by WTA’s Chairman, Michael Mann, even though iEntertainment’s claim is junior to the claims held by WTA and DOM, or dissuade bidders from purchasing the Domain Name, and thereby retaining Mr. Mann’s control over it. WTA’s refusal to appropriately value the Domain Name has prevented WTA and DOM from agreeing on the parameters by which the Domain Name should be sold. In addition, DOM and WTA disagree as to whom shall act as auctioneer or broker for the sale of the Domain Name, how much of a commission to pay to the selling person or entity, the time frame needed to market and sell the Domain Name, and the order and amount of the distribution of sale proceeds. DOM has negotiated in good faith with WTA since at least January 2009 in an effort to come to an agreement on how to best sell the Domain Name. WTA has consistently impeded the sale of the Domain Name and continues to do so. DOM and WTA are hopelessly deadlocked on this issue.

6. Moreover, upon information and belief, WTA’s Chairnan, Mr. Mann, is affiliated with or has some interest in most if not all of the companies with which ESCOM does business, thereby providing Mr. Mann with an incentive to refuse to agree to sell, or otherwise delay the sale of, the Domain Name. For this reason, a trustee is needed to replace ESCOM’s management and vendors until the Domain Name can be sold.


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Judge Denies DOM Partners Motion to Dismiss Bankruptcy Case

April 21, 2010dom partners, Domaining, Domainnamewire, escom, Mike Mann, sex.com, UncategorizedComments Off on Judge Denies DOM Partners Motion to Dismiss Bankruptcy Case

Bankruptcy case to proceed for now.

A judge assigned to the bankruptcy case of Sex.com owner Escom, LLC has denied creditor and shareholder DOM Partners’ request to dismiss the case.

Three companies run by Mike Mann filed an involuntary bankruptcy petition against Escom the day before Sex.com was to be offered in a high profile auction in New York City. Mann argued that the best way to realize the maximum value from the sale of Sex.com was to hold an orderly bankruptcy auction using a skilled domain auctioneer.

Escom, LLC filed a formal response to the bankruptcy filing, saying that it agreed with the bankruptcy proceedings. That should come as no surprise to DOM Partners, which claims that Escom’s CEO reports to Mike Mann and that Mann effectively operates Escom.

The upshot of a bankruptcy auction is that the domain name could be auctioned free of all liens. But given the history of Sex.com, I’m betting we haven’t seen the last twist in this case.


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DOM Partners Fires Back at Mike Mann in Sex.com Case

April 13, 2010dom partners, Domaining, Domainnamewire, escom, Mike Mann, Policy & Law, sedo, sex.comComments Off on DOM Partners Fires Back at Mike Mann in Sex.com Case

Creditor to Sex.com says Mike Mann proves its point.

Sex.comDOM Partners, a creditor and equity investor in Sex.com owner Escom, LLC, has filed a reply (pdf) to Mike Mann’s opposition to DOM’s motion to dismiss bankruptcy proceedings against Escom.

In the reply, DOM Partners says that Mann’s opposition and declaration proves that he filed the bankruptcy case in bad faith to prevent a planned foreclosure auction of the Sex.com domain name.

Petitioners acknowledge crucial facts supporting DOM’s Motion for stay relief on the basis of bad faith. For example, they admit that Petitioners are controlled by Mr. Mann, that they are insiders of ESCOM, that they filed the Petition because ESCOM could not file a voluntary petition, that the filing was made solely to stay DOM’s UCC sale of the Domain Name, and that the Domain Name must be liquidated
(although they claim fhat it must be sold under the supervision of the Bankruptcy Court).

In a separate declaration (pdf), DOM Partners counsel Robert Seaman responds to Mann’s suggestion that Sedo should sell the domain name rather than New York auctioneer David R. Maltz & Co., Inc.

Although it is not necessary or appropriate to defend the commercial reasonableness of the UCC auction in this forum, I note that there were several reasons why DOM did not retain Sedo as the auctioneer for the UCC foreclosure sale. One reason is that David R. Maltz & Co., Inc. (“Maltz”), a well known auctioneer in New York, appeals to a wider pool of bidders. The “players” in the domain name industry to which Sedo caters were well aware of the auction as soon as DOM’s Notice of Foreclosure Sale was broadcast on the Internet and domain name industry message boards. Maltz’s marketing efforts led to widespread interest across all business sectors and a global awareness of the auction. Another reason is that Sedo sought a commission that was excessive given the expected amount of services involved. Payment of the additional fee for less effective marketing would have reduced the amount that DOM — and the other creditors and equity owners — would have realized from the auction.

Escom, LLC has yet to formally file a response to the bankruptcy proceedings.


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