With domains selling for as little as $4.95 a year, the cost of speculation is low. But what’s the actual value of capturing the .com domain name of the next pope? If the objective is resale, there is almost no chance that the Vatican would purchase such a domain from a squatter, as it controls the .va top-level domain, which it can use to create an official web site for the new pope (if one were needed in addition to the vatican.va site). Creators of “fan sites” along the lines of PopeJohnPaul.com tend not to have huge budgets for acquiring domains.
Such domains might have the highest financial value to parties likely to use the name for decidedly unapproved uses, such as porn sites, which routinely purchase G-rated domains – including whitehouse.com and domains used by Christian sites – for use as traffic gateways.