According to market research firm eMarketer, e-commerce sales will go beyond $3.5 trillion over the next five years, demonstrating the monumental money making potential the Internet can afford. But while today’s online world enables businesses to sell their products and services on a global scale, some entrepreneurs have made money off the web itself.
Recognising the future power and potential of the Internet, a number of visionary people registered lots of .com domain names in the early nineties. Therefore, when multinational corporations wanted to claim the company’s name or another unique URL as their web address, they would have to pay the owner of the domain thousands, if not millions for the privilege.
While today, one can easily purchase domain names (on sites like here), companies just can’t afford not to purchase certain domain names that are already owned by someone else.
In many respects, this expensive outlay was (is) totally worth it, as your domain name can increase traffic numbers and boost bottom-line sales. But just how much did certain businesses pay for their URL? And what are the most expensive domain sales ever?
1. LasVegas.com – $90,000,000
Arguably the world’s capital of casinos, it is perhaps no surprise to see a domain name linked with Las Vegas as the most expensive registration. However, the terms of the deal are quite extraordinary.
Domain investor George Kikikos says that the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) paid $12 million dollars cash for LasVegas.com in 2005. But analysis of the financial statements reveals that total payments come to an astounding $90 million. This includes a payment plan scheduled over the course of 35 years from 2005 to 2040.
2. CarInsurance.com – $49,700,000
The automobile industry in the US generates a turnover of $220bn, employs 277,383 people, and comprises of 1,958 businesses. This is one of the reasons why online marketing service and technology company QuinStreet paid $49,700,000 for the domain name CarInsurance.com in 2010.
The remarkable thing about this deal is that the domain was previously owned by an insurance agency. However, Quinstreet was solely interested in CarInsurance.com for lead generation purposes.
3. Insurance.com – $35,600,000
Once more, the insurance industry is responsible for one of the world’s most expensive domains. On top of that, QuinStreet were the buyers yet again, purchasing Insurance.com for $35,600,000 in 2010.
Although the original site QuinStreet bought had content, it was purely interested in the domain as an asset. Coincidentally, it has bought more than $100 million worth of insurance domains to date.
4. VacationRentals.com – $35,000,000
VacationRentals.com is part of HomeAway, a rental marketplace that allows families and groups to find accommodation ranging from cabins and condos to villas and barns for their upcoming holidays.
But rather than buying the domain VacationRentals.com to attract more customers, HomeAway CEO Brian Sharples had an ulterior motive for coughing up $35,000,000. “The only reason we bought it was so Expedia couldn’t have that URL,” he said.
5. PrivateJet.com – $30,180,000
In 2012, PrivateJet.com was sold for $30.18 million in cash and stocks to Nations Luxury Transportation from Don’t Look Media Group, an intellectual property holding company.
At the time, Nations Luxury Transportation CEO Kenneth Starnes said, “PrivateJet.com is a phenomenal asset and when integrated with our proprietary technology (which allows charter operators to compete directly for your flight), it will help us revolutionise the super luxury segment of Private Jet transportation.”
This post was written be Debbie Fletcher, an enthusiastic, experienced writer who has written for a range of different magazines and news publications over the years. Graduating from City University London specialising in English Literature, Debbie’s passion for writing has since grown. She loves anything and everything technology, and exploring different cultures across the world. She’s currently looking towards starting her Masters in Comparative Literature in the next few years.