Last week I received a tweet to @thedomains, asking the question:
“Is any domain name portfolio worth over $1 Billion Dollars?
We are about to find out.”
The link in the Tweet goes to this site, which says:
“The portfolio consists of 40 hyper names (and hundreds of others) that will ensure a substantial and immediate impact on the Internet if they are paired with the right global resource.
The seller’s preference is to keep the portfolio intact.
It is his belief that the whole is substantially more significant than the sum of the parts.”
I was initially concerned whether the company sending the Tweet out was really representing Castello Cities Internet Network, Inc (CCIN) as I never heard of the broker.
CCIN is the owner of the domain names linked to the Tweet, so I contacted Michael Castello CEO and President of Castello Cities Internet Network, Inc., who confirmed the domain portfolio was for sale but there were 41 primary domains not 40.
Michael agreed to answer some questions:
1. Michael Why did CCIN put this portfolio up for sale now ? Does it have anything to do with the roll out of the new gTLD program ?
“”I have been entertaining the idea since the beginning of 2014.
Back in 1994 I told my mother that our family is on a twenty-year adventure. I always look for indicators that something will occur in the future.
Whisky.com received one offer back in 1995 for $100.
The next offer (and sale) of $3.1 million was nineteen years later. There was no talk from the buyer in regards to its traffic or revenue. It was a domain name only acquisition.
At the same time, my partner and brother David had already put 15 years into our business, and he wanted to get back into the music industry, which is where we started. I can’t blame him. If you love performing on stage, creating music, and traveling, then that is what you should do. Success can be determined in many ways. When someone is able to do what they want to do, whenever they want to, I would call that success. I love what I do on the Internet, but there is a point when one needs to look at current events and decide if a change is in order.
I feel that it is a good time to see if I can maximize the potential of our portfolio. I realized that I cannot plausibly put the kind of time and effort into each of these 41 names that is required.
The Internet has changed so much over the last ten years. No longer can someone create a five-page website on a name like Tijuana.com and make thousands of dollars doing virtually nothing. If I spent the kind of effort that Tijuana.com deserves, I could easily make tons of money right now. But the public expects a richer experience than what a static info-site can provide. Now multiply that by 41 hyper names. It would be impossible for me to do so.
I now believe that the potential of what I built back in 1995 may be better realized by another enterprise. It makes sense for me to sell the portfolio and give David his share, and give the government its share. This allows me to simplify my situation, giving me more freedom to do what I want to do for the next 20 year adventure.
Of course, I will remain in the domain business; there is no better market to create wealth and financial freedom, and the future of civilization requires a functioning virtual world that continually grows in vastly new technological directions.
I was very happy to see Whisky.com move to a company that now has huge global reach. Imagine what the right party could do with Room.com or Bullion.com? Look at them in their current form and realize that their true potential would be a game-changer for any company with the right resources.
The new gTLDs are a part of the advancing name economy. There is a hierarchy in our market, and they have a place, but .com will always be the star of the DNS. That place will continue to grow as the public continues to use the Internet as an environment that they can dwell in, instead of as an app or tool to search for things.
Domain names are addresses for people to find each other. Some of those addresses already exist as common phrases in our minds, like Daycare.com, Nashville.com and Golfclub.com. In such cases, those names are already worth a lot, with great leverage and a worldwide trust factor.
I go to great lengths to allow myself the time and money to do what I want to do. For twenty years, I’ve had great personal freedom, and I have my portfolio to thank for that.””
2. Can you list the 41 primary domain names for me that are for sale in this portfolio?
Currently I am selling 41 hyper and generic domain names.
I have around 1,000 more that could be acquired for extra.
Here are the 41:
3. What is the asking price?
$1.2 Billion Dollars.
4. Why did you decide to sell these domains as a portfolio rather than separately?
“My gut feeling tells me that there are a few people in the world who both understand what my portfolio really contains and can afford it.
It was built at a time when whatever my passions were, became my domain name to own. Anyone can piece together a portfolio of names, but arguably none have the passion of creation that mine has.”
5. Does that mean at this point you will not entertain offers on any one domain in the list?
“”I’ve had some pretty good offers that I’ve turned down on some of them after the Whisky.com sale. That sale was a statement of timing.
The rest are like The Crown Jewels to me. It would be like taking a butter knife and plucking a beautiful gemstone from the royal crown.
No – they stay together.
I will hold at this price until the end of 2014 to sell.
After that I will be asking for more.””
6. At over $1 Billion I would assume its going to have to be a public company who would buy this portfolio, do you agree? Who has over $1 Billion in cash that might be a buyer?
“I feel that there will be an individual who sees what I see. ”
They might be the head of a large company, or someone with a lot of influence. There are people who have made vast amounts of money in the past five years. Many are not in the US, but rather Asia and the Middle East. But that money is scared money, and they are unsure of the best market for them to invest in.
Investing in my portfolio will allow any company with money and resources to be a major player in a multitude of verticals such as Manicure.com for beauty; Nashville.com for country music; Daycare.com for family; Bullion.com for financial; Traveler.com for travel; and Adopt.com for charity, just to name a few.
I would liken it to having the ability to be Rockefeller, Carnegie, Chase, Ford, and Vanderbilt all at the same time.
Those leaders carved out their industries over their lifetimes, always wanting to capture the other markets. They were very competitive.
Never before has anyone had that kind of global opportunity to dominate across such vast marketplaces. The Internet allows it, and my portfolio is a free and clear path to the future.””
7. Who is behind junxtion.com and why did you choice them as your broker?
“I did not expect this to go public.
I gave an opportunity to a friend to make some money, and he tweeted the portfolio out.
I have a small pool of friends who I offered to broker my portfolio.
It was never exclusive.
This release gives me a chance to say publicly what I have been saying over the past three months to industry friends at conventions. They had the same questions you are asking, and I think I should qualify my reasoning.””
8. If someone is interested in the portfolio, whom should they contact?
Thanks Michael and best of luck
I should note the 41 domain names priced at $1.2 Billion dollars, comes to $30 Million Dollars on average, per domain name.
Here are a few other stories about or written by Michael Castello: