Net Sales Now You Can Own a Piece of the Web

Article excerpt

As people become more comfortable trading goods over the Internet, a new commodity is emerging: a piece of the Internet itself.

After seeing the rights to the Internet site name "business.com" sell for more than $150,000, the operator of a popular World Wide Web site called program.com put the site itself up for sale.

Vertex Group, a Web site development company in this city near the California border, is asking $75,000 for program.com. The firm said Monday it hopes to sell the site to a software company or a publisher of software magazines. "This may be a significant beginning of a trend," said Janet Asteroff, an analyst for the Gartner Group in Stamford, Conn. In terms of physical property, program.com amounts to some aging computer gear, a chair and a couple of tables in a small office with a backyard view next to a grocery store. But the Web site is valuable as a popular destination for computer programmers and software developers to exchange information. It draws 10,000 visitors, or "hits," per month. "If an individual or a corporation had a Web site that had a lot of traffic and a lot of advertising revenue, it becomes almost real property, even though it is still in cyberspace," said Joe Broadhurst, general manager of idNames.com in Houston, which represented the unnamed buyer of the rights to "business. …