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eBay says that the record $10 million bid for Web address turned out to be a prank.

eBay said today that the record $10 million bid for Web address turned out to be a prank.

Houston-based Tenagra Corp., which put its rights to the domain name up for auction on eBay, asked the auction leader to investigate the $10 million bid after not receiving any response from the bidder, eBay spokesman Kevin Pursglove said. eBay's investigation team then examined the bidder's contact information and tried to get in touch with the buyer without success, Pursglove said.

"We came to the conclusion that this was a prank bid," Pursglove said.

Pursglove said on Sunday, a day after the auction closed, that it would take about three days for eBay to determine whether the sale was legitimate.

eBay also ruled out the second and third highest offers for the Web address, one because it appeared to be a prank and the other because the bidder withdrew the offer shortly after, Pursglove said. The top remaining bid was for $2 million, he said, adding that it appeared to be legitimate.

"All the checks that have been done on it are positive," Pursglove said. "There's been some level of communication between us and that bidder."

The current Web site was created for disseminating information about the millennium bug. The site is a joint venture of Petrus & Associates, which is owned by Canadian Y2K specialist Peter de Jager, and the Year 2000 Information Center, a subsidiary of Tenagra, a Houston-based Internet marketing firm.

Tenagra, which registered the address, put up for sale on eBay on Dec. 22. The sale was held in a private auction, meaning eBay did not display any of the bidders' names.

Had it been legitimate, the $10 million bid would have topped the $7.5 million eCompanies paid for in November.