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eCompanies plans business-to-business Net service

The firm pays a hefty $7.5 million for the domain name in its effort to launch a business-to-business Internet service.

eCompanies today said it paid a hefty $7.5 million for the domain name to launch a business-to-business Internet service.

The announcement underscores two trends: the high value of compelling Net addresses and the rush to create companies focused on business-to-business transactions and services.

" is the highest-order business-to-business domain name and is a perfect match with the service we are building in the eCompanies incubator," eCompanies co-founder Jake Winebaum said in a statement. "We plan to make the Internet's preeminent business brand."

The start-up will face intense competition, however. As for the price of the domain name, it appears to be among the highest ever paid. In August 1998, Compaq bought the AltaVista domain name for a reported $3.3 million.

In 1997, the name was purchased by an unnamed company for $150,000, a record at the time, through a company called eCompanies bought the domain name from Marc Ostrofsky, a Houston-based entrepreneur.

Ostrofsky will become an adviser to the company, and Winebaum will become acting chief executive.