Whether you’ve realized it or not, domain names are extremely lucrative on their own. Because of branding and potential profits, people will put up millions to gain rights to a specific name. The main reason the right domain name is so important involves the traffic in which it can generate, and also how closely the name might be associated with a personal name or brand.
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A great example of how important a domain name can be in association with branding or a company name is when a person needs a hotel and they want to look online, they’ll instinctively visit Hotels.com. This one step didn’t require any ad research or SEO strategies. Just by having the right name, a company’s profitability can skyrocket. Businesses know this and so it’s worth the millions they invest in domain names to stay visible and relevant. Domain flipping is popular, but there are a few domain names that have gained popularity due to their expensive price tag.
With all of that in mind, be sure to check out these twenty domain names listed below. They’re the most expensive domain names of all time.
1. Insurance.com — $35.6 million
Insurance.com is at the very top of the list as it was sold for a whopping $35.6 million back in 2010. Upon visiting the site, you’ll see that it serves as a home base for insurance comparison and sales. It includes auto, home, car, life and motorcycle insurance information. It serves as an effective hub that allows you to control of the details of such private information, save money on coverage and see options instantly. Researchers suggest that because the domain was supported by a website with content and a name that was great for search engines, it made sense for it to be so lucrative. It was purchased by Quin Street, Inc. who also purchased a few other sites on this list.
2. VacationRentals.com – $35 Million
If you’re an avid traveler and love taking vacations, you’ve probably done a search for a good vacation rental before. Investors are well aware of that fact and so this website sold for $35 Million and was an interesting and calculated move by Brian Sharples. Brian Sharples is actually the CEO and founder of HomeAway. He didn’t just recognize the value of VacationRentals.com, but he realized that a major competitor had its eyeballs on it. Essentially, he purchased this domain name because he didn’t want Expedia to have it.
3. PrivateJet.com – $ 30.18 Million
It’s not uncommon to see celebrities and dignitaries hop on private planes to get to their destinations quickly, but the domain name dedicated to the private jet industry was a major purchase. At the time of its purchase in 2012, it was concerned the highest priced pure domain sale of all time. It was purchased with cash and stocks from Don’t Look Media.com to Nations Luxury Transportation, LLC. PrivateJet.com currently serves customers looking for global business charter.
4.Internet.com — $18 million
Who knew that you could purchase the internet? Truthfully, there was an opportunity to purchase Internet.com and it sold for $18 Million. This acquisition happened between QuinStreet, Inc (buyer) and WebMediaBrands (seller).At the time of this cash acquisition, Alan Meckler, the CEO of WebMediaBrands, was transitioning his way out of tech publishing and wanted to make a move that could benefit stockholders as it would improve the balance sheet and allow the company to experience more growth and specialized focus on other areas of the company . Upon visiting Internet.com, visitors will find lots of informative articles on domain names, websites, news and trending topics regarding the internet. It is also a place where visitors can become consumers and redirects them to sites where they can purchase domain names.
5. 360.com — $17 million
Qihoo CEO, Zhou Hongyi is the Chinese investor behind such a jaw-dropping purchase. At the time of its purchase back in 2015, it outpriced Sex.com. Sex.com only sold for $14 Million. In Chinese media, Hongyi is recognized as a “domain gangster” for all of his internet acumen. This purchase was orchestrated to assist the company with its branding and facilitate the unification process of all the companies under Qihoo.
6. Insure.com – $16 Million
This domain is home to news, articles and quotes surrounding insurance. A visitor will gain information and be able to compare prices for various insurance providers.
It’s also another website that was purchased by the marketing firm, QuinnStreet, Inc. Domain sales took a hit after the 2008 hit. When this domain sold in 2009 for $16 million, it was a clear indicator that domains were regaining value and were becoming a profitable investment again. Insure.com was sold for ten times more than it originally was bought for back in 2001.
7. Fund.com — £9.99 Million
This domain is the home to Fund.com, Inc, which is a financial services information publishing company. It also serves as a fund platform and includes information regarding stocks, mutual funds, investments and more. Headquartered in the US, this site sold in 2008 for £9.99 million. Clek Media brokered the deal and it is reported as an all-cash transaction. At the time, it was considered the highest deal for a domain. It experienced a significant decline in 2011 with issues surrounding ownership, a Ponzi scheme and other legal matters.
8. Sex.com – $13 Million
Sex.com is a hub for adult content. It was purchased for $13 million back in 2006 and was considered the highest paying domain at that time. It was purchased by Gary Kremen, a famed entrepreneur. He’s also known for his popular site, Match.com. Oddly enough, Network Solutions transferred the domain over to Stephen Cohen after Cohen illegally misrepresented Kremen. He turned it into a website that was rich with advertisements. With over 25 million hits each day, he was able to make between $50,000 and $500,000 each month. Kremen took Cohen to court and eventually won. Cohen was ordered to pay $25 million to Kremen. The state of California also awarded Cohen an additional $40 million for any lost earnings. Cohen ended up with a payout of $65 million.
9. Hotels.com – $11 Million
Hotels.com was originally purchased in 2001 for $11 million by David Roche, the company’s president. Hotels.com Worldwide used the domain to give them leverage and it allowed the completely dominate the online market. When talking with entrepreneurs and other domain buyers, Roche emphasizes how the purchase of the right domain can lead to astounding success. The domain can become a brand of its own. At the time, spending $11 million on a domain seemed absurd to many. However, a few years later, the domain sold for $1.1 Billion. The company looks back now and recognizes that they were able to get it for a major steal.
10. Porn.com — $9.5 million
Porn.com is a website for adult content and videos. The deal was brokered on March 9th, 2007. At the time, it was the largest cash sale in domain name history. Moniker.com brokered the deal for the company, MXN Limited. This domain is at the top of the rankings in the adult industry. It’s also reported as receiving a major amount of visitors each day. The number hasn’t been specified.
11. Porno.com — $8,888,888
If you add one letter, it can make a major difference in dollar signs as its competitor, Porn.com, sold for hundreds of thousands more. The deal happened between a South Floridian man and an undisclosed company located in Prague. It was facilitated through Escrow.com. Rick Schwartz, a Boca Raton resident, reportedly purchased the domain from a college student back in 1997. At the time, he paid the student $42,000 for the site. He clearly flipped a profit in this deal. This domain stands as a hub to redirect visitors to other sites with adult content.
12. Fb.com – $8.5 Million
In the eyes of most people, it would make sense for a company like Facebook to purchase the domain, Fb.com. So in 2010, they did. The company was in the process of adding updates to its mobile and web pages. As the brand continued to expand, the company leaders thought it would be best to purchase the domain. Its previous owner was a non-profit company, the American Farm Bureau Foundation. At the time, they were using fb.org as their main domain. The primary reason for purchase was so that Facebook could use the domain internally for the in-house employees of the company.
13. Business.com – $7.5 Million
Business.com started as a simple domain purchase but has now morphed into its own thriving, standalone brand. It currently exists as a digital media company and a B2B website. A visitor can also purchase products related to lead generation, pay-per-click advertising and more. It was originally purchased for $150,000 by Marc Ostrofsky. Ostrofsky later turned around and sold for $7.5 million. Ostrofsky is known for his domain dealings as he believes domain names are internet real estate. He’s also the author of the famed book, Get Rich Click.
14. Diamond.com — $7.5 million
They’re most popular when they’re found in engagement rings, necklaces and earrings, but diamonds are also associated with the extremely lucrative domain purchase that happened in 2006. Ice.com is an online jewelry retailer and they purchased the domain, Diamond.com, from Odiomo, Inc. for a cool $7.5 million. Currently, this website stands as an online retailer that also shares information and education surrounding diamonds. It’s also a portal where you can sell your diamond rings. Once a visitor selects the option to sell, it redirects to another site, Worthy.com.
15. Beer.com — $7 Million
Once a guest visits this site, they’re bound to find beer facts and news. It’s also an informative site that teaches more about beer brewing, tastings and more. There’s even lots of drinking game suggestions. Originally, Beer.com was purchased by Michael “Zappy” Zapolin and Andrew Miller. They purchased it for $80,000. They first used the site as a place where people could rate beers and exchange information about brewing. There are conflicting reports that share that the domain was purchased for $7 million in stock by the company, Interbrew. Other reports share that it was sold to Interbrew for $2 million in cash.
16. iCloud.com – $6 Million
iCloud.com is the home to storage for all Apple users. After a while, all of those pictures, videos and documents on your cell phone take up too much space. As a result, most people either empty their phones and save the memories in the iCloud. Back in 2011, Apple decided to make a concerted effort to look at different storage solutions for its customers. Currently, over 782 million people are active users of the iCloud. This precious domain was purchased by Apple in March 2011 for an estimated $6 million. Some sources speculate that it was purchased from a Swedish company, Xcerion.
17. Israel.com – $5.88 Million
During the Spring of 2007, Moniker.com announced that Israel.com sold for $5.88 million to a private buyer. It was first purchased in 1994 by a Jewish-American man, Joel Noel Friedman. He was concerned that someone would purchase the site and misuse it. While he put the site up for auction in celebration of the country’s 60th anniversary, he didn’t expect to make as much as he did. Since it’s sale in 2007, Israel.com is a simple site with information on the news, lifestyle and events happening in Israel. It also includes a few affiliate ad links and a link to join the website’s newsletter.
18. Casino.com – $5.5 Million
Casino.com is a website filled with online casino games. If you want to enjoy the excitement of a casino from the comfort of your own home, this site has tons of games that you can play for real money. There’s even an app you can download in the Apple store. This domain initially started out as a part of the Boss Media arsenal. However, Boss Media sold it to an undisclosed seller for %5.5 million.
19. Slots.com – $5.5. Million
Just like Casino.com, Slots.com sold for $5.5 million. The transaction happened in 2010. Even Moniker.com facilitated the transaction, the names of the buyer and seller have remained private. Currently, the site is the host for online gambling and casino games.
20. Toys.com – $5.1 Million
For branding purposes, it makes sense for a company like Toys R’ Us to purchase Toys.com. The bidding war for this domain was a tough one. National A-1,a domain holder company, wanted the name as they also have domains such as boys.com and girls.com. This purchase was reported in 2009.
It’s clear that the right domain name can produce incredibly profitable results. Many companies needed the domains to maintain the integrity of their brand online. Others knew that sites like Porn.com would receive a lot of daily visits without trying so it was a purchase that equated to a lot more profits. However, it’s important to remember that a domain can also turn into its own brand just like Business.com and Hotels.com. With the right ads, the right placement and the right name, these 20 domain names have proven to be worth being in the top 20 sites.
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