Looking back on 2018 there were a lot of interesting stories. A lot of big companies picking up premium .com names, and businesses built on premium names.
The Domain King left Twitter and came back to blogging. Mike Mann claimed he was the real domain king.
A domain theft kept the attention of many a reader on Namepros riveted to their screens for weeks.
Verisign called us all scalpers before thinking better and at least editing out scalpers.
New gtlds were a mixed bad, some of the biggest sales took place with mostly the registries benefiting. Some extensions saw their numbers drop and promotion was down across the board.
Thanks to the work of George Kirikos and others we found out what some premium names actually sold for that were previously unknown.
So let’s get into 2018
Amazon acquired Prime.com back in February as was confirmed by DomainInvesting.com. The domain was was listed in the Moniker/SnapNames domain name auction in 2011, and it had a reserve price range of between $1 million – $5 million.
Amazon also acquired a real business on a premium .com around the same time, the ecommerce giant acquired Ring.com for over $1billion.
Walmart acquired the developed website Art.com.
Purple.com was found out to have sold for $900,000 in 2017.
From the it’s not about the money (yeah right) Matt Blaze told The Verge Crypto.com was not for sale. A few months later the name was sold for $12 million to Monaco a Swiss payments and crypto platform.
We learned through Mr Kirikos that Indigo.com changed hands for roughly $2.7 million.
Buckley Media Group brokered the sale of Sleeping.com and Snoring.com for $1,004,450.
Coins.com sold for 7 figures.
We learned Tesla.com was purchased for $11million from Elon Musk himself.
Meet.com sold for $1million.
GoTo.com was found to have sold for $2.5million.
December saw a run on 1 word .coms selling for 6 figures as Pain.com sells for $399,999, Plants.com sold for $450,000 and Files.com sold for $750,000.
The top reported sale for 2018 is ICE.com at $3.5million.
Mergers and Acquisitions
2018 saw deal activity quite frequently throughout the year.
We saw the acquisition of Donuts by Abry Partners.
Cinven’s announced that they intend to buy One.com.
NameSilo purchased by Brisio Innovations.
Web.com became the sole owner of NameJet.
The Domain King
Rick left Twitter at the end of 2017 and returned to blogging in 2018.
DomainGang reported that Rick purchased MotherFuckers.com for $4,500 on Sedo back in September.
Rick made some interesting comments in 2018,
The “Domain Industry” is a Dirty Rotten industry such as it is. And again, let me state clearly, there is no industry. There is no association that represents rank and file domainers. There are no standards of conduct.
And to be honest, the window of opportunity on this has all but closed. There is no domain industry and there never will be! Domainers are very charitable but charity starts at home. When the money was flying around we helped many causes but we never cemented or protected our own cause in an effective, meaningful and long lasting way. That window of opportunity is gone.
In October Rick explained what a REAL domainer does and knows.
Personally I thought the most interesting thing Rick said was that he would not get into domaining if starting today.
Would I get into domaining today? Absolutely not! Can you still make money with domains? Absolutely. But when you buy a domain at least realize that the money invested is buried and it will be buried for a very long time. There is no cashier. They are not liquid. You own it and there is less than a 50/50 chance you will sell it in YOUR lifetime.
Then there was Mike Mann saying he was the real domain king.
I hereby proclaim to be the one & only “Domain King” (TM) and ruler of the kingdom, challenging Rick’s mark. Any respectable domainer will tell you I have more skill and deserved this coronation. He is now subjugated to “Domain Queen” (TM). We are skipping nuptials & consummation
— Mike Mann (@mikemanndotcom) November 3, 2018
The new gtld’s (who need a new name for 2019, as they are not that new) had some big sales but it was mostly the registries.
Online.casino $510,000 Donuts
Vacation.rentals $500,300 Uniregistry
Home.loans $500,000 Donuts
The.club $300,000 Brandaisy
Mike Berkens did start 2018 off right with the $50,000 sale of Talk.Show.
The Good, The Bad and The Ugly of 2018
Jeannie McPherson from Verisign really started a fight her company might not want to fight. An article titled, How much could businesses and consumers save if the benefit of .com price caps were passed along to consumers? Seemed provocative and then Ms. McPherson decided to go after domain investors, at one time calling them “scalpers” until someone said “EDIT THAT NOW!”
So scalpers became scalping, and it went something like this:
TurnCommerce and GoDaddy are not the only ones profiting from .com price caps. Domain speculation, or “domain scalping,” as some call it, has become a highly profitable industry unto itself. In fact, one of the top domain name speculators in this market reports a net worth of $500 million. These speculators even have their own lobbying group, the Internet Commerce Association (ICA), where TurnCommerce and GoDaddy are members via their subsidiaries NameBright and Afternic.
Yeah bite the hand that feeds you.
Mike pointed out why he thought Verisign were framing domainers as scalpers.
Mike felt they purposely used the term scalpers as it will be needed to vilify the rightful owners of the domain names they seek to charge whatever price.
It will be a political battle and by arguing these scalpers add no value will make their case seem more righteous.
The other point Mike made was what are people going to really do? If a big holder wants to drop a ton of valuable names there will be buyers and VeriSign knows that. Even better yet in a world with no price caps they get to be the speculator and charge whatever they like.
This would be years away but still something to think about and Mike also mentioned that he thought most big holders should absolutely have always owned some VeriSign stock as a hedge.
The Saga of CQD.com
CQD.com involved a graphics designer, James Booth and a lot of people on Namepros working to help get the designer their domain back.
The gist of the story is that James Booth paid $25,000 plus escrow for CQD.com, the domain was taken out of his account, he was scammed and the Escrow.com KYC did not prevent it. He got legal team involved, Web.com investigated for 3 months and gave him the name back. The real owner (22 years of ownership) came to Namepros saying she was scammed. Booth posted he proposed a solution.
Things got off a bit contentious as James Booth has been pissed about a RipOffReport that was filed by Rebecca has cast light on his integrity, and it’s a bit misleading because he did not steal anything as far as we know, but he is in possession of stolen property allegedly.
It seems a lot of parties are being quiet Escrow.com who Rebecca said someone from there told her a check was cashed by a man in L.A. Silentptnr asked a couple times who was this person? Web.com owner of Network Solutions who actually did a 3 month investigation of the transaction and gave the name back to Booth after they initially stripped him of the name.
EMOJIS, Crypto and 4L.com
Domains that have been in favor in 2017 seemed to drop out of the limelight in 2018. 4L.com seem to be mired in some scandal in China.
UDRP Filings at WIPO Reach Record High
Thanks to Elisa Cooper from Brandsight,Inc. for this info,
As of December 20th, 3393 UDRPs were filed in 2018 compared to a total of 3074 for all of 2017. This represents a 10% year-over-year increase. There was some discussion as to whether limited access to Whois data would impact UDRP filings, but that clearly does not seem to be the case given the increase seen in 2018.
Undeveloped steps up
In a case that opened the eyes of many and brought some angst towards GoDaddy, Undeveloped helped out a domainer that got scammed. You can read the whole story here.
Finding who owns a domain through looking up whois records became difficult in 2018. Registrars started hiding or blocking out parts of info everywhere. Using whois history became more cumbersome and the ease with which to track a stolen domain name became a bit more arduous.
It’s been a good year here at TheDomains thanks for reading and commenting. We sold some domains through or sales posts and raised a little money for charity.
Thanks to Namrata at Radix, Leanne at GMO Registry, Annie at Escrow.com, Christina at 101Domain, the guys at DomainsGuide, Michael Sumner at Namebio, Ron Jackson at DNJournal, Alvin Brown and Brandon at Rack Geek.
May you all have a happy and healthy 2019.