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sex.com for sale, but it’s not a domain deal

Kevin Murphy, January 19, 2023, Domain Sales

The owners of sex.com, which for many years was the highest-price domain sale ever recorded, have put the site on sale.

The unidentified sellers say they will accept minimum bids of $20 million, with at least $10 million up front, in an auction that began yesterday and will run until January 31.

The domain alone sold for $13 million in 2013, but this offer is for the full site, so don’t expect it to make it to any domain sales league tables.

The sellers say the site is an “innovative blend of popular social platforms”. That appears to mean it’s a blend of features borrowed from TikTok and OnlyFans.

In the name of journalistic integrity I checked it out.

The main page is basically a feed of short teaser videos of porn models posing or performing sex acts, accompanied by invitations to subscribe to their feeds for modest monthly subscription fees.

The site’s sellers say they receive 20% of the subscription fees, with the models taking the rest.

They say they get over a million daily unique visitors. Most appear to be to the legacy “pin” business, which allows users to create collections of porn content, the site’s primary business prior to July 2021.

Interested bidders can sign up at sex.com/auction.

Update: when tweeting a link to this post, I discovered Twitter won’t allow links to sex.com (which Twitter had auto-linked from the headline) because it thinks the site is “potentially harmful”.

sex.xyz sells at $11,000 loss as premium renewal kicks in

Kevin Murphy, January 10, 2023, Domain Sales

The domain sex.com was for many years the most-expensive ever sold, but the outlook might not be so bright for sex.xyz, which may be a bit of a poisoned chalice.

sex.xyz sold at Sedo for $2,150, according to a record that popped up in my feed today. Namebio lists the same price, with a sale date of December 15.

The domain appears to have been sold just one week before it came up for renewal, which would have cost the original registrant an eye-watering $13,000.

According to XYZ, the registry, it had sold in December 2021 for $13,000, and is one of the names listed as having an annual premium renewal the same as the original sale price.

sex.com sold for $13 million in 2006 and held the record for the highest publicized domain sale every, until the crypto guys started throwing their money around a few years back.

The current record is $30 million for voice.com, sold in 2019. The name nfts.com sold for $15 million last year.

Update: this post was updated to correct that it was sex.com that sold for $13 million, not xyz.com.

Right-wing YouTube bought rumble.com from founder for $477,077

Kevin Murphy, October 25, 2022, Domain Sales

Right-wing video-sharing platform Rumble paid its founder the equivalent of $477,077 for the domain name rumble.com last year, it has emerged.

The company went public on Nasdaq last month, reversing into a shell company, and in an SEC filing last week disclosed the deal:

On May 11, 2021, Rumble purchased from Jokaroo Entertainment Inc. (“Jokaroo”) the domain license for the name “rumble.com” for a purchase price of CAD$603,895 (approximately $477,077), as permitted by the terms of, and in accordance with, the License Agreement dated October 1, 2013 between Rumble and Jokaroo. Mr. Pavlovski is the controlling owner of Jokaroo. In connection with the purchase, the license for the domain name under the License Agreement automatically terminated in accordance with its terms.

It’s not your standard sort of domain sale, but it appears to be an all-cash, domain-only deal. Pavlovski is Chris Pavlovski, the company’s founder and CEO.

The filing makes reference to other six-figure domains purchased from related parties, without specifying the domains.

Rumble is a YouTube clone founded to provide a platform for voices that have either been censored, or fear being censored, by “Big Tech”, due to their views. It’s largely frequented by right-wing Americans.

The company also owns Locals.com, a crowd-funding service mimicking Patreon and set up for largely the same political reasons and audience. It also provides hosting services to Donald Trump’s Truth Social.

Namebio shows that rumble.com previously sold for $31,283 on SnapNames in 2007.

Drug dealer sells blunt.com for $165,000

Kevin Murphy, August 30, 2022, Domain Sales

The domain name blunt.com sold last month for $165,000, it has emerged.

Legal cannabis distributor Farmhouse Inc, which runs a social network called WeedClub and the @420 Twitter account, announced the sale in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing yesterday. The company said:

In June 2022, the Company received an unsolicited offer for its domain name “blunt.com” from an unaffiliated party. The Board considered this offer to be a fair arms-length price for a premium domain name and on July 20, 2022, the Company sold domain name “blunt.com” for $165,000, net of commission

Elliot Silver reported the name was bought by Farmhouse for $125,000 in May 2020 at the same time as it bought weed.club for $30,000.

The name was never developed and the undisclosed new owner currently has it parked.

A blunt is a hollowed out cigar filled with cannabis that people light and smoke the marijuana like a cigarette.

nickel.com sells for a hell of a lot more than a nickel

Kevin Murphy, August 16, 2022, Domain Sales

The domain name nickel.com has sold to a mining company for roughly $250,000.

Flying Nickel Mining, listed on the Toronto stock exchange, purchased the name at some point in the first half of the year for CAD 313,977, according to a regulatory filing from its parent, Silver Elephant Mining.

“During the six months ended June 30, 2022 Flying Nickel purchased a domain name nickel.com at $313,977,” the filing reads.

That works out to about $243,000 at today’s exchange rate, but one assumes it was probably priced at $250,000 at the time of the sale.

Flying Nickel mines nickel. Silver Elephant mines silver. The former was spun out of the latter earlier this year and has its own stock market listing.

Another Silver Elephant spin-out, Nevada Vanadium, bought vanadium.com for CAD 23,461 during the same period. Vanadium is another type of metal, albeit one with substantially less name recognition than nickel.

Flying Nickel is still using flynickel.com as its primary domain, but nickel.com already mirrors the original site.

Before the sale, the domain was parked at GoDaddy, archive.org shows.

Buyer “phasing out” domain “bought for $2.2 million”

Kevin Murphy, August 10, 2022, Domain Sales

The domain name coupons.com, which was acquired for a reported $2.2 million over two decades ago, is being phased out by its purchaser.

The dot-com-boom-era company, which changed its named from Coupons.com to Quotient Technology in 2015, has said in recent earnings calls and regulatory filings that it plans to deemphasize its old brand in favor of newer ones.

The company started out as a print-at-home discount coupons player, but in recent years has moved into digital as paper coupons fell out of fashion in favor of cash-back promotions and mobile apps.

Even in light of the current global inflation crisis, which one would expect would fuel demand for cheaper food and products, the company is struggling as retailers are also feeling the pinch.

In a Securities and Exchange Commission filing this week, Quotient said: “We are phasing out our use of the coupons.com domain, which we will replace with our Shopmium cash-back mobile app.”

The company acquired the domain in 2000.

Namebio reports the price as $2.2 million, which would have made it the third most-expensive domain ever at the time, though this was later disputed by CEO Steven Boal in a 2011 interview with podcaster Michael Cyger. Boal appeared to confirm it was a seven-figure deal, however.

Quotient’s SEC filings have for some years listed a $0.4 million domain on its balance sheet, but it’s not clear whether this is coupons.com or something else.

At $15 million, nfts.com becomes second-biggest domain sale ever

Kevin Murphy, August 3, 2022, Domain Sales

The domain nfts.com has sold for $15 million according to Escrow.com, which facilitated the sale.

The sale means the domain is the second most-expensive ever sold that we know about, beating the 2010 $13 million sex.com deal and trailing 2019’s sale of voice.com.

NFTs are of course “non-fungible tokens”, which something something crypto something something blockchain something something monkeys something something.

The deal was brokered by Domainer.com and GoDaddy, according to an Escrow.com press release.

The buyer has not been named, though he or she apparently has an association with NFT marketplace DigitalArtists.com, and no plans for developing the domain have been revealed.

Voice.com, which was acquired with $30 million of cryptocurrency profits, is currently being used to sell NFTs, though that was not the original plan.

Cahn says .hiphop premiums could show up at auction next month

Kevin Murphy, January 26, 2022, Domain Sales

“Premium” .hiphop domains could show up at auction next month, according to RightOfTheDot.

The company is planning a “digital asset auction” for February 24 and boss Monte Cahn said in a press release “you may also see some .hiphop premium reserve names as well as some other premium TLDs.”

Cahn is a partner in Dot Hip Hop, along with JJN Consulting and DigitalAMN, the new company currently battling ICANN bureaucracy for the right to have UNR’s .hiphop registry contract reassigned.

Along with 22 other UNR buyers, DHH is waiting for ICANN approval of its purchase. ICANN is wary and/or confused by UNR’s representations about matching blockchain alt-root TLDs that accompanied the sales.

The company plans to lower the cost of .hiphop names to bring them to a wider audience.

DHH filed a Request for Reconsideration with ICANN recently, to speed up a process that has so far taken almost six months, but withdrew it when it became clear it had merely triggered another time-consuming bureaucratic process.

ROTD was formed to coordinate gTLD auctions, but is perhaps better known nowadays for selling left-of-the-dot domains, such as at its annual NamesCon conference live auctions.

The company is currently seeking lots for its February 24 auction, including high-value domains and NFTs. The deadline for submissions is February 17.

Bank spends $800,000 to move from a .bank to the exact-match .com

Kevin Murphy, January 19, 2022, Domain Sales

A small Wisconsin bank has acquired the exact-match .com for its brand for $800,000.

Bank First currently uses a .bank domain, bankfirstwi.bank, but has decided to rebrand to bankfirst.com, CFO Kevin LeMahieu told DI today.

In what many domainers will consider an “upgrade”, the .com was purchased during the fourth quarter from another financial institution.

Its new domain currently redirects to the old .bank domain.

The exact-match .bank domain, bankfirst.bank, belongs to an unrelated Mississippi bank with a similar name. But that company doesn’t use it, preferring instead bankfirstfs.com.

.bank is a tightly restricted and secured gTLD launched in 2015 where domains cost about $1,000 a year. It currently has fewer than 5,000 domains under management.

Omicron domain sells for $5,000

Kevin Murphy, December 9, 2021, Domain Sales

The domain name omicronvariant.com, hand-registered less than six months ago, has sold for $5,000 via Sedo, raising all kinds of questions about the value and future of Covid-19 variant-related domains.

The domain, at time of writing, resolves to a Sedo parking page containing ads unrelated (for me) to the pandemic or healthcare.

It was registered in early June, just a day or two after the World Health Organization announced that it would start naming coronavirus variants after letters of the Greek alphabet.

At that time, and to this day, the delta variant is the dominant strain worldwide, and yet deltavariant.com is currently listed for sale for $2,000 at GoDaddy/Uniregistry.

It seems somebody out there is willing to bet that omicron will have the transmissibility speed and longevity to outstrip delta, become dominant, and make dropping $5,000 on the matching .com a wise investment.

Assuming non-nefarious use, I personally struggle to see the end-user value.

It appears that any .com combination of a Greek letter and the word “variant” that had not already been registered by June was quickly snapped up by speculators after WHO revealed its naming scheme.

Some domains, such as alphavariant.com and xivariant.com, were already in use by companies with web sites that predate the pandemic.

The company Nu Variant seems to have dodged a bullet — WHO skipped that letter because it’s a confusing homophone of “new” in some English dialects. It also skipped xi, as it’s a common name that happens to be shared by the premier of China, which was bad luck for the xivariant.com domainer.

All the other letters between delta and omicron have been assigned to variants that fizzled out or have failed to garner much media attention.

At this point, it seems quite possible that WHO will run out of Greek letters in a matter of months, but it reportedly has no current plan for its coronavirus nomenclature after that.