It may be the most ever paid for a single letter of an Internet address.

A British travel company has paid 560,000 pounds ($1.1 mln) for the domain name, a price that is effectively $1 million just for the letter S since it already owns the address

The sum shatters the previous record for a domain of $300,000, paid in October last year.

Seamus Conlon, whose company bought the address from a German travel company, said it was a necessary move to retain dominance in the rapidly growing market for ocean cruising.

'Cruises' is consistently ranked first on Google, with 'cruise' just behind, he said.

We wanted the top positions so that when Internet users are searching for deals ... we are the first port of call.

While the purchase is a record for Britain, it is a long way behind the huge sums paid for more the popular .com addresses.

The current most-expensive domain is, which was bought for $12 million in 2005. Running close behind is, snapped up for $9.5 million last year.