Every month, I’m publishing a brief look back at some of the most notable sales of the equivalent month from ten years ago, as listed in DNJournal. So this month, I’m looking at the domain industry as it was in July 2010, featuring sales such as XYZ.com, O.co, and Fiction.com.
In July 2010, the big news was the general release of the .CO domain extension, which amassed over 300,000 registrations within the first 72 hours of release.
XYZ.com – $50,000
Back in 2010, the XYZ pattern still managed to achieve a $50,000 which was far above average for an investment in a three-letter .COM at the time. It looks like the name was acquired by the XYZ registry, or Daniel Negari its founder. According to ICANN Wiki:
“Daniel Negari originally purchased XYZ.com with the intention of building a complete web experience where businesses and individuals could register domains, build their website and manage online assets. XYZ.com went on to become an ICAAN-accredited registrar that was also approved by Verisign and PIR to sell .com, .net and .org domains. While building the XYZ.com experience, ICANN announced their intent to implement a new generic Top Level Domain program. The company then pivoted to being a registry. .xyz was its first application”
Now, XYZ.com redirects to the XYZ registry’s home page. According to statistics, the .XYZ extension currently has over three million domains registered, including ABC.xyz which is owned by Alphabet, the parent company of Google.
O.co – $350,000
Just as .CO was launched, Overstock announced that they acquired the O.co domain for $350,000. Overstock was due to rebrand itself to O.co and it created some buzz around the .CO extension at the time. However, things didn’t work out well for Overstock.
According to an article from DomainIncite in 2012, the O.co domain lost 61% of its traffic to O.com, a name that is currently reserved and not in use. Overstock’s CEO called O.co “my bad call”.
Now, O.co redirects to Overstock.com. As for the CEO of Overstock that sanctioned the O.co decision? He has resigned.
Slots.ca & Poker.ca – $206,906 & $400,000
Two big .CA sales from July 2010 were Slots.ca and Poker.ca, which sold for $206,906 and $400,000 respectively. Whilst these two sales have quite a lot in common, they were in fact sold completely separately.
Slots.ca traded in a private deal facilitated by Moniker’s brokerage department. It was acquired by Bodog, the gambling company founded by billionaire Calvin Ayre who also purchased Slots.com in 2010 for $5.5 million. By 2012, Bodog and Calvin Ayre were in legal trouble with Calvin reportedly indicted on charges of illegal gambling and money laundering. Today, Slots.ca unsurprisingly offers Canadian gamblers the chance to play slots online. The name doesn’t look to be associated with Calvin Ayre.
As for Poker.ca, that sale occurred thanks to SnapNames, and the name was acquired by Caladonia CDN, a Canadia Internet company. The name changed hands again in 2017, and possibly again in 2019 as the name is now under privacy protection. There’s no site resolving to the domain.
Fiction.com – $90,000
A one-word .COM sale that caught my eye in July 2010 was Fiction.com, which sold for $90,000. Many one-word .COM names still sell in that range, so I was curious to see who acquired it. The name was acquired by Hillcrest Media Group, owned and operated by Mark Levine. Some may know Mark as a prominent domain investor, but at the time, he operated a publishing company.
Mark held Fiction.com until 2017 when he sold it. It may have been a deal facilitated by Media Options, as Fiction.com appears under the “domains we’ve sold” list on their homepage. The name was acquired by a company called Fiction, and now holds the company’s homepage.
FreeMarket.com – $93,000
If you’re a participant in the domain industry, you may know Freelancer.com as being the Australian company that owns the widely used Escrow.com service. Way before acquiring Escrow.com, the company paid $93,000 to acquire the FreeMarket.com domain name.
To this day, FreeMarket.com is still operated by Freelancer.com as a marketplace to buy and sell websites and domain names.
Rage.com – $49,999
Sold at Sedo for $1 under $50,000, Rage.com was acquired by ZeniMax Media Inc, an American video game company that operates famous publishers such as Bethesda. ZeniMax dropped $49,999 for Rage.com a few months before they released the first-person shooter game, Rage.
The name was used in relation to the marketing of the video game, something that rarely happens anymore. Now, Rage.com is being used to promote the sequel to Rage, Rage 2.