Fans of idol group AKB48 surely must have been dumbfounded when they found out that someone is selling the domain “akb48.com” for 10 million Yen (120,000 USD) on Japan’s largest auction site, “Yahoo! Auction“.
It is pretty common to trade Internet domains for large amounts, but not so in Japan. In fact, it might become the highest ever amount of money a domain has gone on sale for in the history of Japan.
It seems strange that the company behind the idol group hasn’t yet tried to acquire such a perfect domain for themselves, but most people still don’t believe that the auction is a prank. The exhibitor had already made himself a name for selling a lot of concert tickets and other merchandise and therefore many are trusting him that he really is going to auction off the domain.
Nobody knows who he really is. The domain information says that it is registered to a person called “Taro Yamada”, but people doubt that this is his true name. When looking at the date of the registration, it also becomes clear that he simply must have been faster than the people around Akimoto Yasushi, the producer of AKB48. “akb48.com” was registered in January of 2006, three months earlier than the official domain of the idol group, “akb48.co.jp”, in April.
Ironically, people who are trying to access akb48.com now are being redirected to the official homepage of “Hello!Project“, another major idol umbrella corporation in Japan. The redirection has been active since today.
There are concerns whether or not the company behind AKB48 is going to force to take down the domain by making use of the “Unfair Competition Prevention Law”, since “AKB48″ is a registered trademark. However, the exhibitor is still going to sell the domain, but he already declared that there won’t be a refund in case the law is really going to take down the domain.
No biddings have been made since its start on the Monday. The auction will continue until January 30th.