The Internet world calls them squatters. These are the individuals and companies that treated the emergence of the World Wide Web like a dot com land rush. They registered everything from the names of famous brands to Hollywood stars. Some people also registered words they thought a company might find useful down the road. Then they sat back and waited for the offers to come in.
Interbrew, now InBev, is said to have spent several million dollars a few years ago to acquire the www.beer.com domain name. Now the billionaire owner of Russian Standard Holding, Roustam Tariko, is said to have paid a company called U.S. Nett Corp. $3 million to take control of www.vodka.com. Russian Standard also paid a smaller, yet still hefty price to acquire www.vodka.ru from a Russian holder. By the way, U.S. Nett Corp. has been taken to court by several firms because it registered domain names for brands they held trademarks on and then tried to sell the domains to the trademark holders.
The companies buying these names are not buying content-rich websites. Often the sites are inactive or make money selling click throughs to other sites. So why are they worth millions? Go to Google and type "beer" in the search bar. It will be the first website to appear and that's worth something to a brewing giant like InBev. It's all about traffic and good real estate always come with a big ticket price.