In August 2022, CRM creator HubSpot disclosed a significant domain purchase within a quarterly SEC filing.
Thanks to reporting from Elliot Silver in April 2022, we know that HubSpot secured the Connect.com domain name in a deal brokered by BrandForce‘s Louis Pickthall. According to Silver’s article, Connect.com resolved to an Efty-powered BrandForce landing page prior to being sold. We also know that the domain held an $11.8 million asking price at marketplace Afternic.
At the time, the domain’s purchase price wasn’t revealed, but George Kirikos discovered a sentence within a HubSpot quarterly filing that gave DNJournal its 5th charted domain sale in the eight-figure range.
According to HubSpot, it paid $10 million to secure Connect.com, but why was it prepared to pay that much? What plans does HubSpot have for the domain?
From what I can gather, HubSpot is going to use Connect.com in conjunction with its HubSpot Network, a recently launched social network allowing HubSpot users to connect with each other. Think of it like LinkedIn, but with a focus on highlighting HubSpot products and certifications.
HubSpot Network, which currently operates at network.hubspot.com, is in its beta testing phase at the moment, with just over 2,000 members on the platform to date. From what I can gather, the company will eventually open the platform to its 150,000+ member network and beyond, perhaps helping connect providers and prospective customers.
Shortly after its acquisition, HubSpot redirected Connect.com to HubSpot.com before redirecting the domain to network.hubspot.com where it remains as of publishing.
HubSpot’s quarterly filing confirms its plans to use Connect.com in conjunction with HubSpot Network, “the domain will be used to host a networked community for customers, Solutions Partners, and prospects.”
A trademark filed by HubSpot for Connect.com also describes the domain as hosting “online social networking services provided through a community website.”
There are few better domain names than Connect.com to host an ambitious social networking service, and the price paid for the domain name reflects HubSpot’s desire to secure that domain specifically. To HubSpot, the $10 million acquisition fee is a drop in the ocean, with the company producing over $1.3 billion in revenue in 2021 and retaining a cash and cash equivalent value of $305 million. Yet, many companies in HubSpot’s financial position don’t understand the power that an ultra-premium domain can bring to a project.
HubSpot’s founding team are no strangers to securing high-value domain names. In 2021, co-founder Dharmesh Shah acquired SmartWallet.com for $175,000, and in 2022, he purchased WordPlay.com for $100,000 via Sedo.