Simply put, a domain name is the name of a website. Unique identities, domain names are important to anyone seeking to build an online reputation and presence. In addition to this, it gives an air of professionalism. Domain names also provide some legal protection to their owners, such as copyright and trademark infringements.
Those that are serious about their business and online presence will go above and beyond to secure the right name. This even includes spending exuberant amounts of money. So, just what are those price tags? Here’s a list of some of priciest domain names in the history of the web.
10 Sex.com ($13M)
Everyone knows that sex sells. Why would it be any different when it comes to the sale of a domain name that contains a keyword that any search engine would immediately yield results for? The name for this adult site proved that sometimes simple can be better.
The web identity was purchased by the same man that owns a popular dating site. At one point, a trickster infiltrated the company and transferred the title over to himself. He made a killing running online ads. The fraudster, Stephen Cohen, was sued and sentenced to jail time.
9 Insure.com ($16M)
It is easy to understand why a site built around sharing content on insurance would sell for a pretty penny. The former proprietor changed its name when it was purchased by the West Coast-based internet marketing agency, Quinn Street. On the website, users can compare quotes from various companies.
The domain was sold in the early 2000s at a very low price due to a downswing in the market. By the time it was sold for a second time, in 2009, owning domain names was once again proving to be a profitable venture. It sold for nearly ten times the price it was purchased for!
8 360.com ($17M)
To increase its global recognition, China-based company Qihoo purchased the domain name 360.com from Vodafone for $17M. When it was founded in 2005, Qihoo was widely recognized for its antivirus software and web browser. The strategic move was made as a way of bringing all of the company’s products under one umbrella.
Previously, it appeared that the company’s products were scattered throughout various sites, such as qihoo.com and so.com. Both would redirect users to haosou.com. This sale was recorded as the priciest domain name sale in 2015.
7 Internet.com ($18M)
The sale was beneficial to shareholders and put the seller’s accounting books in the green. The website provides information on how to purchase domain names, how to build business pages and a host of other useful articles that relate to building, owning and operating your website. Purchasing the domain name has given the agency the power to grow its online presence.
6 Voice.com ($30M)
Facilitated by GoDaddy, the sale of Voice.com was record-breaking. MicroStrategy sold the web identity to Block.one, a software publishing company that has high profile investors such as PayPal head honcho, Peter Thiel.
It seems the profitable sale has set the wheels in motion. MicroStrategy owns more than twelve domain names and has made it known that they are prepared to part with any of them for the right price.
5 Vacationrentals.com ($35M)
The purchase of this domain name was a strategic move by one company to outdo its largest competition. HomeAway paid the hefty price tag to keep the name out of the grasp of Expedia. The website is a virtual travel agent, selling competitively-priced vacation packages throughout the United States and across the globe.
The site doesn’t only offer a great deal, it allows users to create personalized packages as well. The sale of this particular domain name is often disputed since, at the time of purchase, the websites were up and running. Many argue it wasn’t the domain that was bought but the site itself.
4 Insurance.com ($35.6M)
Again, Quinn Street is in it to win. Insurance.com is another one of its brilliant acquisitions. The high-traffic, well-known site is used to compare insurance prices and provides informational content on a variety of insurance types, including health, home, and life insurance.
Quinn Street was thinking way ahead into the future with this purchase, as insurance is something that will always be a necessity. The keyword “insurance" works wonders in terms of search engine optimization. With relevant and practical information, the site is guaranteed to draw in a large amount of traffic.
3 CarInsurance.com ($49.7M)
Quinn Street spent more than $49 million to purchase CarInsurance.com, a website that offers information and car insurance sales. It seems that this is Quinn Street’s niche. The company also owns other domains dedicated to insurance and isn’t afraid to pay the price for what it wants.
The marketing agency has made a business of creating websites that offer highly functional and pertinent data to the public. As with its other sites, this one offers purchasers convenience and a one-stop shopping experience. Prices found on the site come from popular insurance authorities, making it easy for users to view their best options.
2 LasVegas.com ($90M)
This was once the most expensive domain name sale in the history of the world wide web. LasVegas.com was sold for nearly $90M in the early 2000s. However, the domain name is still being paid for. At the time of purchase, Vegas.com only paid $12M. The remaining $78M is being handed over in payments that run through 2040!
The two sites, LasVegas.com and Vegas.com, aren’t the same at all. LasVegas.com is among the highest-ranking outcomes when it is used in a search engine. As a result, it's a high traffic site that sells a variety of entertainment and accommodation packages in a popular city.
1 Cars.com ($872.3M)
This is the domain name sale that knocked the previous one into the number two spot. The purchase was made by Parent, in the spring of 2017. For a long time, it was believed that the domain name had sold for $2.5 billion. However, it was the company, Cars.com, that was sold at that price.
The company was started at the end of the 1990s by a combination of periodicals that wanted to continue earning money with auto ads. They also wanted to take advantage of the revenue that online advertising could bring in. The website offers a wide variety of options to auto brokers and boasts a large inventory of automobiles for sale.