Buying URLs

Alot of articles in the past few months about companies purchasing URLs and layering on paid search and a content offering.  Marchex is an interesting play in this space.  Billions of dollars, according to the trade mags, have funneled into this space in the past 12 months?  Why?  Side note/question: wonder if there will be a secondary market created, with the likes of Verisign figuring out the underlying value and various monetization strategies?

What happens with the mobile space and even the TV space when it goes digital.  Will there be a UI for TV or mobile that changes the search functionality or use of www. when interacting with a web site?  Is there some underlying value in the URL structure as it exists now…or will this too be upended with new technology in the coming 12-24 months?

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