Fierce bidding wars have begun to snap up catchy email addresses. Eight women were locked in a battle for [email protected], forcing the price to £27 in 36 hours reports The Sun.

In order to compete with Google’s Gmail, which launched in beta in April and provides 1 GB of storage, Microsoft had to upgrade. Adding European and Japanese domain names creates a new demand and a broad new range of potential e-mail addresses. This drives views to the site, which in turn puts ads in front of the e-mail users.

To kick off the availability of the new names, Microsoft will conduct a charity auction of what it believes will be the most sought after UK addresses. The auction, with partner eBay, will benefit the UK National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC).

[email protected] attracted bids of £1,500 in two days. Darthvadar leapt to £51 and princess to £61.

More here.