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Laying claim to real estate domains

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The auctioneer's gavel is scheduled to fall on more than 2,600 properties Thursday in San Francisco, but these "properties" aren't homes or land -- they're "geotargeted" real estate-related Web site domain names that incorporate the names of cities and places around the U.S. and the world. Domain name auctions are commonplace, but it's "extremely rare" for this many real estate-related domain names to be offered for sale together, according to Moniker, the company that will handle the transfer of the names after the auction. The current owner of the domains, Craig Harrison, is a Colorado-based real estate broker who says he began registering the sites nearly 10 years ago. Harrison's collection includes more than 2,300 domains that incorporate the names of most U.S. cities with populations of more than 35,000, and all of the major cities. Harrison says the auction is no stunt or gimmick. It's a chance for a company -- or companies -- to build a...