In mid-1997, an unidentified company purchased business.com for $150, 000. idNames.com brokered the sale between Business Systems
International and the Texas-based company, announcing on June 4, 1997. Commented CNET on that day, "With companies rushing to buy up
pieces of virtual real estate, the market for Internet domain names has
become as wildly unpredictable as the art market in the 1980s." (1)
Business.com was the first domain name to sell for such a price, and
it set a trend that continues: expensive domain names. The phenomenon
effectively allowed Network Solutions - now Verisign - to print money.
ICANN, seeing the problems this could cause, eventually opened up the domain registry to competition.
On November 30, 1999, eCompanies bought the business.com domain name
for $7.5 million from Marc Ostrofsky, a Houston-based
entrepreneur. He is likely all that remained of the company that formerly
owned the domain. eCompanies is a venture capital firm;
they plan to use the domain for business-to-business transactions and
What we've learned
As a community of Internet users, we've learned the following tactics in
the game of domain name cash:
- Domain squatting:
- Buy early and buy often. As soon as new Top-level domains open, a
flood of requests for commonly-desired (single words, acronyms,
etc) domains is clearly visible.
And the usual tactics of bidding apply, like starting low, and frightening holders into selling low.
Where we've come
The World Intellectual Property Organization, worried that trademarks
would be squatted first, and that a sunrise period where trademark owners could squat first was in order.
Footnotes / Sources: